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L^u^tha^rt  ^u/Le^ojiLla/m. 






COLuNEL    H.R.U.    THE    PKINOE    OF    WALES. 

Vandyke,  London. 



BY  G.   H.  DUDLEY  WARD,  D.S.O.,  M.G. 

/    I 


G.G.V.O.,  K.G.B.,  D.S.O.,  etc. 




All  Rights  Reserved 


It  is  the  lot  of  few  regiments,  as  it  is  of  few  great  men  or 
women,  to  have  the  story  of  their  birth  and  early  years 
written  by  a  contemporary  hand.  We  aU  know  how 
difficult  it  is  to  prove  events  even  within  our  own  times, 
and  therefore  the  nearer  we  get  to  them  the  more  unlikely 
it  is  that  they  recede  into  the  realm  of  fiction. 

The  Welsh  Guards  have  this  advantage,  and,  seeing 
that  their  inception  took  place  during  a  great  war,  it  is 
all  the  more  important  that  their  advent  should  be  set 
down  clearly  and  by  one  who  was  present. 

I  had  the  advantage  of  being  present  and  assisting 
at  the  birth,  and  no  one  can  be  better  qualified  than 
Major  C.  H.  Dudley  Ward,  D.S.O.,  M.C.,  to  carry  on 
the  story  with  its  bapteme  de  feu  and  glorious  exploits 
in  the  subsequent  years  of  war. 

It  had  been  the  unanimous  wish  of  the  Welsh  people  — 
than  whom  none  are  more  noted  for  their  loyalty  to  the 
Crown — that  the  Principality  should  take  its  place  among 
the  nations  of  the  British  Isles  in  finding  a  regiment  to 
assist  in  guarding  the  Throne. 

King  George  V  gave  expression  to  this  sentiment,  and 
to  his  own  wishes,  on  February  6th,  1915,  by  command- 
ing Field-Marshal  Earl  Kitchener,  K.G.,  then  Secretary 
of  State  for  War,  to  put  His  Majesty's  orders  into  execu- 
tion. Accordingly,  as  I  was  commanding  the  London 
District,  I  was  sent  for  by  the  Field-Marshal  and  ordered 
to  raise  a  battalion  immediately.  On  my  asking  Lord 
Kitchener  how  soon  he  expected  this  to  be  done,  he 
replied,  in  his  usual  abrupt  manner  :  "  In  a  week  !  " 
My  answer  was  :  "  They  shall  go  on  guard  on  St.  David's 
Day  " — and  they  did  ! 


Haste  being  the  order  of  the  day,  I  asked  the  help  of 
Col.  Sir  Henry  Streatfeild,  commanding  the  Grenadier 
Guards,  who  most  generously  gave  me  free  access  to  my 
old  regiment,  which  I  was  not  slow  to  take  advantage  of, 
by  calling  upon  all  Welshmen  to  join  the  colours  of  the 
Welsh  Guards. 

A  nucleus  of  some  300  men  was  thus  formed.  Officers 
quickly  came  in,  and  with  non-commissioned  officers  who 
volunteered  from  the  Grenadier  and  Scots  Guards,  the 
foundation  of  a  great  regiment  was  laid,  and  my  promise 
redeemed,  for  on  St.  David's  Day,  to  the  strains  of  the 
Scots  Guards  band,  the  1st  Battalion,  Welsh  Guards, 
mounted  guard  over  the  King  at  Buckingham  Palace. 

Such  was  their  beginning.  Their  history — is  it  not 
already  writ  large  in  letters  of  blood  and  gold  worthy  of 
the  Land  of  our  Fathers  in  the  book  of  the  Great  War  ? 

When  future  generations  of  Welsh  Guardsmen  look 
back  on  those  dark  but  glorious  days  they  will  remember 
with  pride  the  names  of  Murray  Threipland  and  Douglas 
Gordon,  of  Palmer  and  Osmond  Williams,  of  Bulkeley 
and  the  historic  name  of  Clive,  of  Sergt.  R.  Bye,  V.C., 
and  Mathias,  of  Waddington  and  Ham,  of  Ulyatt  and 
Hammond,  and  of  many  another  unknown  to  history  or 
fame  who  by  dying,  or  living,  won  the  great  regiment 
through  to  its  place  of  honour — a  place  which  will  be 
maintained  so  long  as  the  British  Army  holds  up  the 
British  Empire. 

To  all  I  recommend  the  ably  written  pages  that  follow. 
They  contain  what  is  known  of  the  Welsh  Guards  during 
the  past  four  years  clearly  set  out,  although,  no  doubt, 
as  time  rolls  on  and  men's  visions  of  the  events  of  these 
times  become  clearer,  more  will  be  added. 



Aston  Hall,  Oswestry, 
Se'ptemher  1919, 



Introduction        .......        v 


I.    The  Creation  of  the  Regiment        .         .         1 

II.  First  Days  in  France — St.  Omer — Training 
— The  Officers'  Mess— Sport — Confer- 
ence on  the  Attack — The  March  to  Loos       14 

III.  The  Battle  of  Loos — Vermelles — The  Ho- 

henzollern  Redoubt — The  March  to 
Allouagne       ......       26 

IV.  Allouagne — ^]\Ierville — Laventie       .         .       47 

V.    Calais — Wormhoudt — St.  Jan  ter  Biezen —      61 
Poperinghe      ...... 

VI.    Ypres,    Various  Sectors  held  until  June 

21st 67 

VII.    Ypres — Mortaldje  Estaivunet — Left  Sector     86 

VIII.    March    to    the    Somme — Mailly-Maillet — 

Beaumont  Hamel — Mericourt  .         .     103 

IX.    The  Battle  of  the  Somme         .         .         .Ill 

X.  Gueudecourt — Bromfay  Wood — Le  Trans- 
LOY — Sailly-Saillesel — The  German  Re- 
treat ON  THE  HiNDENBURG  LiNE — PerONNE      132 

XI.    The  Third  Battle  of  Ypres — Training — 

Action  July  3  1st — Action  October  10th     148 

XII.    Serques — The  Battle  of  Cambrai — ^The  Ger- 
man Advance  to  Gouzeaucourt       .         .     166 

XIII.    Arras — Gavrelle — Roeux  .         .         .     189 



XIV.    The  Big  German  Offensive — ^Preliminary 

Raids — Warnings  of  Attack        .         .196 

XV.    Boyelles  —  Blair viLLE  —  Ayette  —  War- 

LTNCOURT — Berles-au-Bois — Barly        .  212 

XVI.    American  Troops — The  opening  of  the 

Great  Advance — St.  Leger           .         .  227 

XVII.    Through  the  Hindenburg  Line      .         .  246 

XVIII.    St.  Vaast — The  Crossing  of  the  Selle  .  257 

XIX.    The  Last  Fight— The  Armistice     .         .273 

XX.    Cologne 289 

XXI.    The  2nd  (Reserve)  Battalion         .         .  296 

XXII.    Regimental  Headquarters      .         .         .  305 

XXIII.  Diary  of  the  Visit  of  the  Massed  Bands, 

Brigade  of  Guards,  to  Italy      .         .  306 

XXIV.  A  History  of  the  Welsh  Guards'  Choir  311 


A.  Presentation  of  Colours  by  His  Majesty  the 

King  to  the  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards, 

August  3rd,  1915 317 

B.  Operation  Orders           .....  320 

C.  St.  David 368 

D.  The  Armistice         ......  369 

E.  Enemy  Divisions  met  by  the  Welsh  Guards  377 

F«    Movements  of  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards  .  379 

G.    Events  of  the  War        .....  385 

H.  First  Battalion  Choirs           ....  392 

I.     Nominal  Roll  of  W.O.'s,  N.C.O.'s,  and  Men  of 
the  Welsh  Guards  who  served  Overseas 

with  the  1st  Battalion      ....  397 

J.    Records  of  Officers  of  the  Welsh  Guards  .  474 

K.  Company  Colours    ......  495 

Index  ,,..,,.,.  499 


Colonel  H.R.H.  the  Prince  of  Wales         Frontispiece 


Colonel  W.  Murray  Threipland,  D.S.O.      .         .     138 

The    Front    attacked   by   the   Welsh   Guards 
July  31st,  1917 

Canal  Trenches  held  by  Welsh  Guards,  Boesinghe 
Chateau    ....... 

Wood  15  before  the  Bombardment 

Wood  15  after  the  Attack 

A  View  of  the   Battle-field,  Third  Battle   of 
Ypres         ....... 

HouTHULST    Forest.     Scene    of    the    Attack    on 
October  9th      ...... 

Lt. -Colonel  Douglas  Gordon,  D.S.O.  . 

Major     (acting    Lt. -Colonel)    Humphrey    Dene 

Captain  (acting  Lt.-Colonel)  R.  E.  C.  Luxmoore 
Ball,  D.S.O.,  D.C.M 







Lt.-Colonel  Stracey-Clitherow 

Colonel  Lord  Harlech 

The  King's  Colour 

The  Regimental  Colour      .  .\At   End   of    Volume 

The  Company  Colours 



The  Ypres  Salient       ..... 
Positions  in  the  Somme  Battle  Advance 
Objectives  on  July  31st      . 
Positions  before  Houthulst  Forest    . 
Trench  System  in  Front  op  Arras 
The  British  Line  after  the  German  Offensive 
The  Line  of  Advance  on  Maubeuge 
Positions  in  the  Advance  on  St.  Leger 
Plan  of  Attack  on  the  Hindenburg  System  . 
Positions  in  the  Advance  to  the  Selle  River 
The  Last  Action  ..... 



Position  at  Loos,  September  27th       ...       36 

mortaldje — from  an  aeroplane  photograph   .      .       96 

The  Positions  round  Ginchy       .         .         .         .113 

The  Line  at  Gueudecourt.     Note  the   German 
Post  in  the  Centre    .         .         .         .         .         .135 

Cambrai.     Line  of  Battle  8  a.m.,  November  30th, 
1917 179 

Attack  on  the  Gonnelieu  Ridge         .         .         .186 

Sketch  of  German  Position.     Llewellyn  raided 

THROUGH  the  LoWER  GaP     .....       200 

The  Hindenburg  Line  .....     244 

Positions  before  Premy  Chapel  ,         .         ,     250 







The  character  and  temperament  of  the  Welsh  people  can- 
not fail  to  produce  great  and  valiant  soldiers.  A  nation 
which,  in  spite  of  invasions  by  the  sword,  of  enforced 
and  of  willing  political  union  with  a  stronger  neighbour, 
in  spite  of  the  more  lasting  and  subtle  erosions  of  nation- 
ality produced  by  close  and  intimate  commercial  ties  and 
intercourse,  retains  its  language,  reveals  an  indomitable 
spirit,  a  power  of  endurance  and  reaction  under  reverse, 
a  character  which  can  never  acknowledge  defeat. 

Amongst  the  people  of  Great  Britain  there  is  a  feeling 
of  romantic  affection  for  Wales,  an  open  admiration  of 
her  proved  gallantry.  The  mind  jumps  at  once  to  the 
special  association  of  the  country  with  the  King's  eldest 
son — probably  to  the  legend  of  Edward  I,  which  has 
so  impressed  itself  on  youthful  imagination  by  the  pic- 
tures in  elementary  history- books  of  the  King  holding  a 
naked  babe  before  a  vast  gathering  of  fierce  warriors,  and 
so  introducing  to  them  their  new  Prince — which  appeals 
to  the  pride  every  man  has  in  his  national  customs  and 

Wales  and  the  Welsh  are  continually  thrusting  them- 
selves into  the  everyday  life  of  the  people  of  Great 
Britain  by  commanding  a  leading  position  in  sport,  with 
tiheir  man^  great  footballers  and  renowned  "  Fifteens/' 



and  their  fiery  and  determined  fighters  in  the  "  Ring  "  ; 
in  art  with  their  singers  ;  in  commerce  with  their  coal. 

"  Gallant  little  Wales  ''  is  no  idle  catch  phrase.  The 
Anglo-Saxon  has  absorbed  many  nationalities,  but  the 
Ancient  Briton  resists  him  to  this  day,  though  for  cen- 
turies they  have  fought  the  common  enemy  side  by  side. 
The  proud  colours  of  the  old  Welsh  Regiments  carry  but 
a  small  portion  of  the  military  history  of  their  country. 
It  is  a  glorious  history.  But  the  military  position  of  the 
Welsh  in  the  United  Kingdom  was  not  complete  until 
His  Majesty  King  George  V  ordered  the  formation  of  a 
Welsh  Regiment  of  Foot  Guards. 

Now  that  each  country  of  the  United  Kingdom  is 
represented  by  a  regiment  of  Foot  Guards  it  may  seem 
strange  that  Wales  was  not  called  upon  earlier  for  this 
loyal  and  proud  duty ;  but  the  representative  idea  was 
not  general  until  a  recent  date.  There  has  been  no 
slight  on  Wales.  The  history  of  the  old  regiments  shows 
that  their  foundation  was  of  a  haphazard  nature.  The 
loyalty  of  Wales  was  recognised  by  the  Tudors,  and  the 
oldest  Guards,  the  King's  Bodyguard  of  the  Yeomen  of 
the  Guard,  was  formed  of  the  trusted  Welsh  friends  of 
Henry  VII,  and  retained  its  Welsh  customs  for  a  con- 
siderable period.  Col.  Sir  Reginald  Hennell,  D.S.O. ,  in  his 
interesting  history  of  this  ancient  corps,  mentions  feast- 
ing on  St.  David's  Day  in  1531,  1532, 1536,  and  in  1537 
a  grant  of  40s.  given  to  one  of  the  Guards  "  towards  St. 
David's  Day  Feast,"  and  that "  the  Yeomen  of  the  Guard 
present  Princess  Mary  with  a  leek  on  St.  David's  Day." 

The  Yeomen  of  the  Guard  were  the  first  troops  of  a 
standing  army,  the  first  permanent  bodyguard  of  the 
King,  and  that  they  should  have  been  Welsh  is  but 
natural  when  it  is  remembered  that  Henry  VII  was  of 
Welsh  descent,  and  that  his  most  trusted  support  came 
from  Wales.  But  in  forming  this  first  Guard  after  Bos- 
worth  Field,  Henry,  who  had  to  rule  over  a  country  rent 
and  devastated  by  civil  war,  did  not  for  obvious  reasons 
give  it  a  title  to  suggest  party  favour.  As  it  was  the 
people  did  not  view  the  establishment  of  a  permanent 
Guard  with  enthusiasm ;  it  was  against  all  precedent, 

Feb.  1915]         THE   ROYAL  WARRANT  3 

and  household  duties  had  to  be  given  to  the  Guard, 
which  nevertheless  was  a  real  fighting  force.  So  the  fact 
that  Welsh  Guards  have  not  been  known  as  such  is  due 
only  to  the  accident  of  a  name  given  at  a  time  when 
ideas  on  the  army  in  general,  and  the  Foot  Guards  in 
particular,  were  in  their  infancy. 

Of  the  three  old  regiments  of  Foot  Guards  only  the 
Scots  Guards  bear  a  title  of  distinctive  nationality.  The 
claim  of  Wales  became  obvious  with  the  formation  of 
the  Irish  Guards.  The  question  of  who  thought  first  of 
Welsh  Guards  is  somewhat  futile  ;  the  Welsh  are  not  a 
slow-witted  people,  and  the  gap  was  there  for  the  whole 
nation  to  see.  At  that  time,  however,  it  was  not  easy 
to  increase  the  army,  and  the  Scots  Guards  actually  lost 
their  3rd  Battalion.  The  opportunity  only  occurred 
with  the  outbreak  of  the  Great  War.  Letters  appeared 
in  the  daily  press,  but  it  is  certain  that  Lord  Kitchener 
had  strong  opinions  on  the  subject.  He  was  very  keen 
that  the  Brigade  of  Guards  should  be  both  comprehen- 
sive and  characteristic  of  the  very  best  types  of  British 
manhood,  and  he  could  not  tolerate  any  exclusion  of 
Wales.  Knowing  the  hopes  of  his  Welsh  subjects,  and 
their  marvellous  response  to  the  call  to  arms.  His  Majesty 
never  signed  a  docimaent  with  greater  pleasure  than  the 
one  now  put  before  him  by  his  Minister  for  War. 

On  February  26th,  1915,  His  Majesty  King  George  V 
authorised  by  Royal  Warrant  the  creation  of  a  Welsh 
Regiment  of  Foot  Guards,  to  be  known  as  the  Welsh 
Guards.  Lord  Kitchener  was  then  Secretary  of  State 
for  War,  and  set  about  the  task  with  characteristic 
energy.     General  Sir  Francis  Lloyd,^  commanding  the 

^  The  order  to  raise  the  regiment  was  given  by  Lord  Kitchener  to 
Sir  Francis  Lloyd  on  February  6th.  The  actual  conversation  is  so 
typical  of  both  men  that  we  give  the  note,  made  at  the  time  by  Sir  Francis 
Lloyd  : 

Lord  Kitchener,  very  abruptly :  "  You  have  got  to  raise  a  regiment 
of  Welsh  Guards." 

Sir  Francis  Lloyd  :  "  Sir,  there  are  a  great  many  difficulties  in  the 
way  which  I  should  like  to  point  out  first." 

Lord  Kitchener,  very  rudely  :  "If  you  do  not  like  to  do  it  some  one 
else  will." 

Sir  Francis  Lloyd  :  "  Sir,  when  do  you  want  them  ?  " 


London  District,  and  the  senior  serving  Welsh  soldier  of 
the  day,  was  given  power  to  proceed  with  the  formation. 
Interviews  were  short.  Major  W.  Murray  Threipland, 
Grenadier  Guards,  was  sent  for  by  Sir  Francis  Lloyd, 
seen  by  Lord  Kitchener,  and  finally  by  His  Majesty  the 
King,  and  was  given  command  of  the  battalion  about  to 
be  raised  and  also,  as  a  temporary  measure,  of  regimental 

To  the  stoutest-hearted  man  the  raising  of  a  new 
regiment  of  Foot  Guards  is  no  light  task.  The  brigade 
of  Guards  have  very  naturally  a  standard  of  excellence 
which  permits  no  adverse  comparison,  and  human  nature 
is  such  that  anything  new,  with  the  inevitable  and 
illogical  reproach  of  having  no  customs  or  traditions, 
will,  when  associated  with  such  a  body,  be  subjected  to 
searching  and  frequently  irrational  criticism  from  the 
older  and  more  experienced  formations.  Some  tangent 
thought  must  have  been  present  in  Lieut.-Col.  Murray 
Threipland's  mind  from  the  moment  of  his  appointment. 
The  desire  of  every  commanding  officer  that  his  battalion 
should  be  the  best,  and  the  burden  of  responsibility  which 
rests  with  command  would,  with  a  new  regiment  of  Foot 
Guards,  have  the  additional  weight  of  anxious,  as  dis- 
tinct from  friendly,  rivalry.  Lieut.-Col.  Murray  Threip- 
land never  shrank,  however,  from  making  a  decision,  or 
hesitated  having  once  come  to  a  decision. 

The  selection  of  the  battalion  staff  involved  far-reach- 
ing appointments — a  mistake  in  sergeant-major,  drill- 
sergeants,  or  company  sergeant-majors  is  difficult  to 
rectify  when  once  these  ranks  are  confirmed.  An  estab- 
lished battalion  has  the  great  advantage  of  watching 
each  man  from  recruit  stage  upwards ;  a  new  battalion 
must  take  a  number  on  trust,  or  at  best  on  second-hand 
recommendation.     To  fill  the  more  important  warrant 

Lord  Kitchenee  :  "  Immediately." 

Sir  Francis  Lloyd  :  "  Very  well,  sir;  they  shall  goon  guard  on  St. 
David's  Day." 

It  is  not  hard  to  imagine  that  the  order  to  raise  the  Welsh  Guards  hit 
Sir  Francis  from  two  opposite  directions.  As  a  Welshman  he  was  delighted, 
as  a  Grenadier  he  thought  at  once  of  the  many  fine  men  his  regiment 
recruited  from  Cardiff. 

March  1915]    THE  KING'S  GUARD,  MARCH  1st     5 

and  non-commissioned  ranks,  it  was  decided  to  call  for 
volmiteers  from  the  Grenadier,  Coldstream,  and  Scots 
Regiments  of  Guards,  and  also  permission  was  obtained 
from  Sir  Henry  Streatfeild,  commanding  the  Grenadier 
Guards,  to  appeal  to  Welshmen  who  had  joined  the 
Grenadier  Guards  and  were  at  the  recruit  depot  at 
Caterham.  In  answer  to  this  appeal  made  by  Sir  Francis 
Lloyd  303  men,  including  40  non-commissioned  officers, 
transferred.  A  similar  appeal  to  recruits  at  Caterham 
produced  200  Welshmen. 

The  Regimental  Roll  was  started,  and  as  Lieut.-Col. 
Murray  Threipland  was  the  first  officer  to  join  the  Welsh 
Guards,  so  the  Regtl.  Sergt.-Major  W.  Stevenson  (from 
the  Scots  Guards),  became  No.  1. 

The  problem  of  where  to  house  and  assemble  the  new 
regiment  was  solved  by  the  allotment  of  a  portion  of 
the  White  City — that  garish  collection  of  white  plaster 
buildings  raised,  by  Imre  Kiralfy,  on  some  vacant  ground 
at  Shepherd's  Bush  for  the  holding  of  a  kind  of  annual 
fair  and  exhibition. 

The  official  date  for  assembly  at  this  place  is  given  as 
February  27th,  and  we  find  two  days  later,  on  March  1st, 
St.  David's  Day,  the  Welsh  Guards  mounted  guard  over 
the  King  at  Buckingham  Palace.  Without  detracting 
from  the  Commanding  Officer's  fine  record,  the  explana- 
tion of  this  unique  feat  lies  in  the  fact  that  he  was  able 
at  this  period  to  act  a  few  days  before  official  announce- 
ment. He  himself  states  that  Lord  Kitchener  gave  him 
verbal  orders  which  enabled  him  to  *'  get  ahead  "  at  once 
without  waiting  for  papers  to  go  through  various  depart- 
ments at  the  War  Office.  Also  there  was  the  leaven  of 
experience  in  the  battalion — or  what  was  already  formed 
of  it. 

The  officers  who  carried  out  these  duties  of  the  guard 

^®^®  •  King's  Guard 

Captain  1  .         .         .  Lieut.-Col.  Murray  Threipland. 

Lieutenant        .         .         .  Lieut.  R.  G.  W.  Williams-Bulkeley. 
Ensign     ....  2/Lieut.  P.  L.  M.  Battye. 

^  This  is  the  only  instance  in  the  history  of  the  Brigade  of  Guards  of  a 
Commanding  Officer  going  on  duty  as  Captain  of  the  King's  Guard. 

6  WHITE  ClT^  [Chap.  1 

Buckingham  Palace  Guard 

Lieut.  Viscount  Clive. 

Sergt.  of  the  King's  Guard  C.  S.  M.  Woodhouse. 

The  remaining  non-commissioned  officers  and  men  of 
the  different  guards  were  found  from  serving  Welshmen 
who  had  joined  from  the  Grenadier,  Coldstream,  and 
Scots  Guards  (they  wore  the  badges  of  their  late  regi- 
ments). The  King  watched  the  parade  from  the  palace 

These  proceedings  excited  the  liveHest  interest  amongst 
the  general  public,  as  well  as  a  large  and  critical  gathering 
of  past  and  present  officers  of  the  brigade.  It  was  an 
anxious  morning  for  the  Commanding  Officer,  but  Sir 
Francis  Lloyd,  who  had  not  the  reputation  of  mincing 
words  on  army  matters,  expressed  his  approval  of  the 
manner  in  which  this  first  important  parade  had  been 
carried  out.  That  night  was  the  first  and  only  occasion 
when  Lord  Kitchener  dined  "  on  guard.''  There  were 
also  present:  Major-Gen.  Sir  Francis  Lloyd,  K.C.B., 
C.V.O.,D.S.O.,  Major-Gen.  Viscount  Falmouth,K.C.V.O., 
C.B.,  Commander  Sir  Eichard  WiUiams-BuIkeley,  C.B., 
Brig.-Gen.  R.  Scott-Kerr,  C.B.,  M.V.O.,  D.S.O.,  CoL 
Fludyer,  C.V.O.,  Col.  H.  Lewis,  Sir  George  Arthur, 
M.V.O.,  and  many  others. 

Now  began  the  real  business  of  training  men  at  the 
White  City.  Recruiting  presented  no  difficulties.  Stories 
of  the  hard  winter  the  army  had  experienced  and  was 
still  going  through  in  France  and  Belgium  had  succeeded 
those  of  the  retreat  from  Mons  and  the  first  battle  of 
Ypres,  and  seemed  to  be  an  excellent  reason  for  a  con- 
tinual stream  of  volunteers.  While  men  were  being 
medically  examined  and  sent  to  Caterham,  and  passed 
from  Caterham  to  the  W^hite  City  to  continue  their  edu- 
cation in  drill  and  the  use  of  rifle — on  the  very  ground 
where  the  populace  used  to  "  wiggle-woggle "  and 
"  water-chute  "  to  the  strains  of  brass  bands  and  under 
the  glow  of  a  hundred  thousand  coloured  electric  lights — 
the  bitter  and  costly  battle  of  Neuve  Chapelle  was  being 
fought  (March  10th),  resulting,  after  three  days  of  fierce 

April  1915]       COLOURS  AND  UNIFORM  7 

fighting  in  driving  the  enemy  back  to  a  depth  of  1,000 
yards  on  a  front  of  3,000  yards  ;  and  Hill  60  was  being 
wrested  from  the  Hun  (April  17th)  by  self-sacrifice  and 
the  use  of  "  jam- tin  "  bombs.  Recruiting  was  easy,  and 
the  only  advertisement  required  was  such  as  would  draw 
the  Welshmen  who  wished  to  join  the  army  into  the  new 
Welsh  Guards.  With  this  object  in  view  a  recruiting 
campaign  was  started  throughout  Wales,  in  which  Sir 
Francis  Lloyd  engaged  himself  and  also  Lieut.  Rhys 
Williams,  who  had  transferred  from  the  Grenadier 
Guards,  and  was  well  equipped  with  the  silver  and  per- 
suasive tongue  of  a  successful  barrister  and  budding 
politician  for  a  jaunt  of  this  nature. 

On  April  28th,  when  the  second  battle  of  Ypres  had 
been  raging  a  week,  the  battalion  consisted  of  31  officers 
and  1,316  other  ranks,  and  was  transferred  to  Esher, 
where  it  was  quartered  in  the  racecourse  stands  at  San- 
down  Park. 

Meanwhile  the  King  had  approved  (March  19th)  of  the 
King's  Colour,  the  Regimental  Colour,  and  the  eight 
Company  Colours.  He  also  conferred  a  further  distinc- 
tion on  the  regiment  by  sanctioning  the  title  of  "The 
Prince  of  Wales  ''  Company,  for  the  leading  company  of 
the  1st  Battalion. 

The  details  of  the  uniform  were  also  settled.  Both 
officers  and  men  wore  the  leek  as  cap  badge,  which 
national  emblem  was  repeated  on  the  button  designed 
by  Mr.  Seymour  Lucas,  R.A.  The  peace  time  forage-cap 
of  officers  and  men  was  to  have  a  black  band  ;  the  tunic 
was  to  have  buttons  in  groups  of  five  ;  the  collar  badge 
to  be  the  leek,  repeated  on  the  men's  shoulders.  The 
bearskin  cap  would  be  the  same  as  in  the  other 
regiments  of  Guards,  but  would  have  a  distinctive 
plume  of  green  and  white. 

The  selection  of  the  leek  as  a  cap-badge  started  some 
fooHsh  discussion  about  a  dafltodil.  Was  it  not  Heine 
who  suggested  that,  though  it  is  expressly  stated  Nebu- 
chadnezzar "  did  eat  grass  as  oxen,"  it  was  probably 
salad  he  consumed  ?  Some  people  will  suggest  an  alter- 
native to  anything.     Whether  it  was  St.  David  who 


8  THE  BADGE  [Chap.  I 

ordered  the  victorious  soldiers  of  King  Alfred  to  wear  the 
leek  in  their  caps  so  that  all  men  might  -know  them,  or 
whether  the  Welsh  wore  the  leek  at  Cressy  and  Agincourt 
we  do  not  know.  Shakespeare  was  a  bad  historian,  and 
we  learn  nothing  from  him,  although  he  is  so  often  quoted 
in  this  respect,  beyond  that  the  leek  was  a  well-known 
emblem  of  the  Welsh.  The  origin  of  the  leek  is  lost  in 
antiquity.  Some  writers  have  gone  so  far  as  to  drag 
mistletoe  into  the  discussion,  though  why  the  Ancient 
Briton  should  wear  the  sacred  mistletoe  as  an  emblem, 
any  more  than  the  skin  of  the  sacred  hare,  or  why  he 
should  substitute  for  it  the  leek,  is  not  apparent.  The 
plant  itself  is  a  native  of  South  Europe,  and  one  might 
hazard  a  guess  that  it  was  introduced  during  the  Roman 
period  of  our  history.  The  well-known  remark  of  Caesar 
that  the  Britons  were  stained  with  woad  probably  refers 
to  a  system  of  tribal  markings  ;  but  they  did  not  wear 
any  distinctive  emblems.  The  idea  of  an  emblem  or 
badge  would  come  with  the  Romans ;  but  the  necessity 
of  wearing  such  a  thing  as  a  leek,  or  the  occasion  on 
which  it  might  be  introduced,  does  not  suggest  itself  until 
a  much  later  period.  A  hastily  assumed  distinction  on 
account  of  similarity  of  attire,  and  on  an  occasion  asso- 
ciated with  victory,  is  the  most  probable  reason  for  it 
and  its  survival.  One  imagines,  too,  that  it  must  have 
been  a  national  affair,  and  not  a  petty  squabble  amongst 
local  chiefs.  Such  a  time  could  have  presented  itself 
during  the  Saxon  or  Early  Norman  period.  We  will  not 
commit  ourselves  any  deeper  than  this. 

While  we  may  pass  over  the  minor  details  of  early 
training  of  the  new  regiment,  it  is  as  well  to  consider  at 
this  point  whom  the  Commanding  Officer  had  to  help  him 
in  the  training.  It  is  obvious  that  given  dragons— Welsh 
ones  would  be  most  appropriate  you  may  kill  one,  and, 
by  planting  its  teeth  in  the  ground,  raise  a  ready-made 
battalion,with  officers  and  men  trained  to  the  last  ounce  ; 
but,  failing  the  dragon,  you  are,  under  such  conditions 
as  prevailed  in  1915,  faced  with  some  difficulty.  A 
certain  number  of  officers  may  be  got  from  regular  and 
territorial  forces — that  is  to  say,exceUent  men  with  vary- 

April  >1915] 


ing  experience  —but  to  complete  the  Commanding  Officer 
^vill  frequently  be  faced  with  no  other  alternative  than 
to  give  commissions  to  excellent  men  with  no  experience 
whatever.  But  through  keenness,  intelligence,  and  hard 
work,  under  the  guiding  hand  of  Lieut.-Col.  Murray 
Threipland  and  a  few  experienced  helpers,  these  men 
soon  transformed  themselves  into  most  efficient  officers. 
We  give  the  following  list  in  the  order  in  which  the 
officers  joined,  and  the  rank  they  were  given  : 

W.  Murray-Threipland 

G.C.  D.Gordon 

W.  B.  Dabell    .  .  .  . 

Hon.  A.  G.  A.  Hore-Ruthven, 

A.  P.  Palmer,  D.S.O. 

G.  W.  Philipps 

R.  G.  W.  WiUiams-Bulkeley 

0.    T.    T).     Osmond     Williams 

J.  H.  Bradney  .  .  .  . 

Rhys  WiUiams 

H.E.Allen       .  .  .  . 

H.  E.  Wethered 

Viscount  Clive  .... 
P.  L.  M.  Battye 

W.  H.  L.  Gough 

R.W.Lewis     .         .         .         . 

J.  J.  P.  Evans  .... 

Earl  of  Lisbume 

K.  G.  Menzies  .... 

B.  T.  V.  Hambrough 
J.  A.  D.  Perrins 

Temp.  Major,  R.  of  O.  Grenadier  Guards, 
to   Lieut.-Col.    commanding    the    1st 
Capt.  S.R.  Scots  Guards,  to  Major  and 

Superintending  Clerk,  Grenadier  Guards, 

to  Lieut,  and  Quartermaster. 
Capt.    K.D.G.,    Major   and    second  in 

Lieut.    R.    of    0.,    Captain  of    No.    4 

Capt.  Durham  L.I.,  Captain  of  No.  3 

Lieut.  R.  of  O.  Grenadier  Guards, Captain 

of  No.  2  Company. 
2/Lieut.  Scots  Greys,  Captain  of  Prince 

of  Wales's  Company. 
Lieut.  D.C.L.I.,  to  Captain  and  2nd  in 
command     of     Prince     of     Wales's 
2/Lieut.  R.  of  0.  Grenadier  Guards,  to 

Lieut.  Royal  Fusiliers,  to  Subaltern. 
R.  of  0.  R.A.,  to  Subaltern. 
Lieut.  Scots  Guards,  to  Subaltern. 
2/Lieut.    S.R.    Grenadier    Guards,    to 

Lieut.    Monmouthshire    Yeomanry,    to 

Capt.     Glamorganshire    Yeomanry,    to 

Capt.     Welsh     Horse     Yeomanry,     to 

2/Lieut.    R.    of    0.    Scots    Guards,    to 

2/Lieut.    S.R.     2nd    Life    Guards,     to 

2/Lieut.  Welsh  Regiment,  to  Subaltern. 
Lieut.  Seaforth Highlanders, toSubaltem. 

10  THE   OFFICERS  [Chap.  I 

.   Lieut.  East  Yorks  Yeo.,  to  2/Lieut.^ 

.  2/Lieut.  Welsh  Regt.,  to  2/Lieut. 

.  2/Lieut.     S.R.    Coldstream    Guards,   to 

.   2/Lieut.  Cheshire  Regt..  to  2/Lieut. 
.   Lieut.  Leinster  Regt.,  to  2/Lieut. 
.   2/Lieut.  Rifle  Brigade,  to  2/Lieut. 
.  To  Subaltern. 

.  2/Lieut.  Royal  Fusiliers,  to  2/Lieut. 
.  2/Lieut.  London  Regt.,  T.F.,  to  2/Lieut. 
.  To  2/Lieut. 

H.  T.  Rice 

G.  C.  H.  Crawshay     . 

H.  A.  Evan  Thomas  . 

W.  A.  F.  L.  Fox-Pitt 
Hon.  P.  G.  J.  F.  Howard 

F.  A.  V.  Copland-Griffiths 

G.  C.  L.  Insole  . 
E.  G.  Mawby  . 
H.  G.  Sutton  . 
R.  Smith 

Of  other  ranks  there  were  :  W.  Stevenson  from  the 
Scots  Guards  as  Regimental  Sergeant-Major,  I.  M.  Smith 
from  the  Grenadier  Guards  as  R.Q.M.S.,  W.  Bland 
from  the  Grenadier  Guards  as  Drill- Sergeant,  C.S.M's. 
H.  J.  Pursey,  A.  Pearce,  J.  G.  Harris,  G.  Woodhouse, 
and  C.Q.M.S's.  R.  J.  Young,  G.  H.  Thomas,  J.  Beards- 
more,  T.  Orton. 

The  officers  joined  at  the  White  City,  Keith  Menzies 
with  a  large  cavalry  sword,  Harry  Rice  with  the  spurs 
of  his  Yorkshire  Yeomanry  (and  a  wonderful  word  of 
command  "  Plat- toon  !  ''),  Olaud  Insole  in  a  pot  hat  and 
lounge  suit — there  were  all  sorts  of  clothes.  Drill-Sergt. 
Bland  put  most  of  these  gentlemen  through  squad  drill, 
and  their  weird  assortment  of  costume  gave  way  by 
degrees,  and  at  the  will  of  obliging  tailors,  to  correct 

Much  hard  work  was  done  at  Esher,  but  there  was  an 
amount  of  play  as  well.  It  was  a  curious  phenomenon 
of  the  Great  War  that  England  never  ceased  entirely  to 
amuse  herself.  Certainly  at  that  time,  besides  the  field- 
sports  which  seemed  natural  to  every  British  gathering, 
those  who  obtained  leave  to  go  up  to  town  found  the  night 
attractions  of  London  equal  to  peace-time  standards. 
The  ball  at  Brussels,  before  Waterloo,  had  its  parallel  in 
London  in  a  perfect  craze  of  dancing.  Private  houses, 
hotels,  and  night  clubs  seemed  to  vie  with  each  other 
from  11  o'clock  onwards.     And  although  people  drew 

1  The  rank  of  ensign  was  done  away  with  in  1870,  but  2nd  lieutenants  in 
the  Brigade  of  Guards  are  still  referred  to  as  ensigns.  It  is  occasionally 
foimd  in  official  documents,  although  not  an  army  rank. 

May  1915]  ESHER  11 

long  faces  at  the  loss  of  Hill  60  on  May  5tli,  and  muttered 
vengeance  for  the  sinking  of  the  Lusitania  on  May  7th, 
and  were  thoughtful  after  visiting  friends  in  hospital 
from  wounds  received  at  the  battle  of  Festubert-Riche- 
bourg  (May  9th),  still  at  Rome  one  does  as  the  Romans — 
and  Ksher  is  not  so  far  from  London. 

That  the  training  at  Esher  was  thorough  the  after- 
record  of  the  battalion  proves,  that  it  was  not  too  irksome 
stories  of  the  younger  and  high-spirited  members  of  the 
officers'  mess  clearly  indicate. 

Other  officers  joined  at  Esher  :  the  Hon.  E.  F.  Morgan, 
H.  H.  Bromfield,  J.  V.  Taylor,  A.  E.  Price,  Lord  Kew- 
borough,  E.  R.  M.  Smith,  J.  Randolph,  N.  G.  Wells, 
F.  W.  E.  Blake,  C.  C.  L.  FitzwiUiams,  H.  Dene.  As  the 
training  progressed  reputations  grew  as  the  snowball 
when  rolled  in  snow,  and  occasionally  melted  as  fast  on 
a  hot  field-day.  Osmond  Williams  and  Palmer  stood 
out  as  commanding  figures,  and  their  energy  was  bound- 
less. Dick  Bulkeley  showed  that,  with  all  his  good  looks 
and  amusing  conversation,  he  had  not  forgotten  his  pre- 
vious soldiering,  and  could  train  men  and  officers  to  some 
purpose.  He  was  one  of  those  gallant  men  who  deserve 
all  praise  and  honour.  Everybody  knew  that  he  had 
contracted  a  bad  form  of  tuberculosis  and  that  there  was 
no  necessity  for  him  to  rejoin  the  army  at  all.  But  he 
rejoined,  and  fought,  and  was  eventually  beaten  by  the 
disease.  Newborough  w^as  another  man  who  knew  the 
insurance  value  of  his  life.  There  were  giants  in  the 
earth  in  those  days. 

On  May  23rd  Italy  entered  the  war — on  June  4th  the 
battalion  returned  to  London  and  took  up  quarters  at 
Wellington  Barracks.  This  change  of  quarters  meant 
that  the  battalion  now  took  up  as  a  whole  the  routine 
and  duties  of  a  Guards  Battalion  in  the  West  End  of 
London.  The  Commanding  Officer  might  well  be  proud 
of  this  record.  The  strength  of  the  battalion,  including 
the  depot  at  Oaterham,  was  then  47  officers  and  1,610 
other  ranks. 

On  June  16th  Lord  Harlech,  who  was  an  old  Cold- 
streamer,  and  had  afterwards  commanded  the  Shropshire 

12  PRESENTATION   OF  COLOURS      [Chap.  I 

Yeomanry,  was  appointed  temporary  lieutenant-colonel 
of  the  regiment,  a  very  necessary  appointment,  as  the 
battalion  was  nearing  the  day  when  it  must  sail  for 
France.  R.Q.M.S.  C.  E.  Woods,  1st  Battalion  Scots 
Guards,  became  sergeant-major  and  superintending  clerk 
at  headquarters. 

There  are  a  few  official  ceremonies  to  be  noted  at  this 
time.  During  the  month  of  June  the  Lord  Mayor  of 
Cardiff,  Alderman  J.  Richards,  inspected  the  battalion, 
after  which  he  presented  the  lieutenant-colonel  with  a 
cheque  from  the  City  of  Cardif!  for  the  purpose  of  buying 
band  instruments  and  drums,  and,  in  the  words  of  the 
Diary,  '*  they  were  afterwards  entertained  by  Lord 
Harlech  at  Prince's  Restaurant !  " 

On  August  3rd  the  battalion  paraded  in  the  gardens 
of  Buckingham  Palace.  In  front  of  a  large  gathering, 
graced  by  the  presence  of  their  Majesties  the  Queen  and 
Queen  Alexandra,  the  King  inspected  the  battalion. 

The  colours  were  then  consecrated  by  the  Bishop  of 
St.  Asaph.  The  Welsh  Guards  Choir,  under  Pte.  G. 
Williams,  sang  "  Ton-y-botel,"  "  Aberystwyth,"  and 
"  Hen  Wlad  Fy  Nhadau."  The  two  senior  subalterns, 
Allen  and  Wethered,  kneeling  before  the  King,  received 
the  colours,  and,  after  presenting  arms,  the  ceremony 
closed  with  the  battalion  marching  past  in  a_^tremendous 
downpour  of  rain.^ 

A  few  days  later,  August  7th,  the  following  announce- 
ment appeared  in  The  London  Gazette  : 

"  His  Majesty  the  King  has  been  graciously  pleased 
to  confer  on  the  Welsh  Guards  the  honour  of  becoming 
Colonel-in- Chief  of  the  Regiment." 

In  the  early  morning  of  the  17th  the  battalion  left 
Waterloo  Station  for  Southampton  and  France.  One  of 
the  few  civilians  on  the  station  to  see  them  off  was  Mr. 
John  Burns,  who,  though  a  man  of  peace,  has  ever  been 
a  friend  of  the  soldier.     No  doubt  as  he  watched  them 

1  See  Appendix  A. 

Aug.  1915]    DEPARTURE   FOR  FRANCE  13 

lie  asked  himself  the  same  question  as  Palmer  when  the 
battalion  was  being  photographed  a  few  days  before 
leaving  when  the  "  artist ''  had  said  "  Thank  you/' 
Palmer  turned  round,  and,  thrusting  his  great  jaw  out  at 
the  "  group/'  said,  "  I  wonder  how  many  of  us  will  be 
alive  in  six  months'  time  ?  " 


officers'  MESS  —  SPORT  —  CONFERENCE  ON  THE 

The  battalion  left  Waterloo  Station  in  three  trains  which 
started  at  4.30,  5.30,  and  6.30  a.m.,  embarking  the  same 
afternoon  for  France — headquarters,  transport,  and  eight 
officers,  under  Capt.  Bradney,  on  the  s.s.  Palm  Branchy 
Lieut.-Col.  Murray  Threipland  with  the  battalion  on  s.s. 
>S^.  Petersburg.  Both  ships  sailed  about  six  in  the  evening. 
The  officers  and  staff  were  as  follows  : 

Headquarters : 

Lieut.-Col.  W.  Murray  Threipland  ;  Lieut,  and  Adjt. 
J.  A.  D.  Perrins ;  Lieut.  W.  E.  PictonPhiUips,  R.A.M.C. ; 
Lieut.  N.  G.  Wells  (transport)  ;  Lieut,  and  Q.M.  W.  B. 
Dabell ;  1898  Regtl.-Sergt.-Major  E.  Barnes  ;  5  Regtl. 
Q.M.S.  H.  Pursey  ;  2  DriU-Sergt.  W.  Bland  ;  297  DriU- 
Sergt.  G.  Woodhouse  ;  3  Orderly-Room-Sergt.  A.  Alder- 
son  ;    90  Pioneer-Sergt.  C.  Branch. 

Prince  of  Wales's  Company : 

Capt.  0.  T.  D.  Osmond  Williams,  D.S.O.  ;  Capt.  Rhys 
WiUiams  (machine  guns)  ;  Lieuts.  H.  E.  Wethered  (sig- 
naUer),  E.  G.  Mawby,  G.  C.  H.  Crawshay,  Hon.  P.  G.  J. 
F.  Howard,  R.  Smith  ;  Nos.  23  C.S.M.  L.  Hunter  (act- 
ing) ;  9  C.Q.M.S.  R.  Young ;  Sergts.  14  W.  Hearn,  377 
A.  J.  Thomas,  24  0.  Ashford,  34 1.  T.  WiUiams,  60  A.  H. 
Kirby,  663  N.  Carter,  816  W.  Lauder,  39  D.  ReHhan  ; 
L/Sergts.  253  E.  A.  Moss,  502  M.  Owen,  374  I.  C. 


Aug.  1915]  THE  COMPANIES  15 

No.  2  Company : 

Capt.  R.  G.  Williams  Bulkeley  ;  Capt.  J.  H.  Bradney  ; 
Lieuts.  K.  G.  Menzies,  R.  W.  Lewis,  J.  J.  P.  Evans, 
F.  A.  V.  Copland-Griffiths  ;  No.  6  C.S.M.  A.  Pearce  ; 
No.  21  C.Q.M.S.  Owen  (acting)  ;  Sergts.  193  W.  Beazer, 
37  T.  Davies,  36  J.  Duddridge,  53  S.  RendeU,  136  J. 
Regan,  26  W.  Stokes,  1359  R.  Scott  Kiddie  (Master 
Boot-maker)  ;  L/Sergts.  330  0.  Murphy,  761  C.  A. 
Bonar,  345  B.  Evans,  44  S.  Hare,  38  E.  Lewis,  143  F. 
PhiUips,  254  T.  W.  Thomas,  57  S.  WiUiams. 

No.  3  Company : 

Capt.  G.  W.  F.  Philipps  ;  Capt.  M.  0.  Roberts ;  Lieuts. 
W.  H.  J.  Gough  (machine  gun),  H.  J.  Sutton,  H.  T.  Rice, 
J.  Randolph  ;  No.  16  C.S.M.  D.  Cossey  ;  11  C.Q.M.S. 
Beardsmore  ;  Sergts.  45  T.  W.  Thomas,  55  E.  Foulkes, 
274  C.  Simpson,  46  F.  J.  Green,  354  C.  Morris,  742  R.  E. 
Parry,  170  J.  Epstein,  1900  T.  H.  Haylock  (transport), 
125  E.  J.  WiUiams,  358  J.  Norton,66  W.  Keay  ;  L/Sergts. 
346  F.  Owen,  54  A.  Peak,  279  J.  Phillips,  324  C.  H. 
Cory,  105  F.  Starnes  (drums),  64  I.  Davies. 

No.  4  Company : 

Capt.  A.  P.  Palmer,  D.S.O.  ;  Capt.  H.  Dene  ;  Lieuts. 
B.  T.  V.Hambrough,G.  C.  L.  Insole,  H.  A.  Evan  Thomas, 
W.  A.  F.  L.  Fox-Pitt ;  No.  8  C.S.M.  T.  Orton  ;  13 
C.Q.M.S.  W.  J.  Church  ;  Sergts.  819  T.  Pearson,  28  B. 
Pottinger,  114  R.  Mathias,  356  A.  D.  Davies,  62  R.  J. 
Richards,  766  C.  Maclachlan,  303  D.  J.  Beavan,  50  W. 
Trott ;  L/Sergts.  283  E.  Helson,  235  E.  W^heatley,  318 
E.  Evans,  174  G.  Shackleford,  397  L.  Nicholson,  231 
D.  J.  Lewis. 

It  wiU  be  noticed  that  the  senior  sergeant-major, 
Stevenson,  did  not  leave  England  with  the  battalion. 
He  had  been  severely  wounded  at  Ypres  with  his  late 
regiment,  the  Scots  Guards,  and,  though  he  was  doing 
duty  in  England,  was  not  sufficiently  recovered  for  active 
service.     Sergt.-Major  Barnes  was  from  the  Coldstream 

16  HAVRE  [Chap.  II 

Guards.     The  record  of  the  2nd  (Reserve)  Battalion  will 
be  found  elsewhere. 

At  7  a.m.  on  August  18th  the  battalion  landed  at 

Havre  was  the  big  base  for  the  British  Army  and 
throughout  the  war  was  as  much  English  as  French. 
Not  only  was  the  quay  swarming  with  men  in  the  British 
uniform,  but  the  hotels  as  well ;  every  other  house  in  the 
centre  of  the  town  seemed  to  be  an  office  of  the  British 
Army  ;  it  was  not  an  uncommon  thing  to  find  a  tram 
driven  by  a  British  soldier  ;  and  at  the  back  or  northern 
side  of  the  town  vast  camps  were  erected  on  the  high 

All  reinforcements  and  new  formations  arriving  in 
Havre  went  to  the  camps,  and  accordingly  the  battalion 
marched  about  three  miles  to  Rest  Camp  No.  5  (canvas), 
where  it  stayed  the  night. 

The  next  day,  at  5.30  p.m.,  the  battalion  left  for  the 
"  Front/'  or  what  most  of  the  men  imagined  was  the 
front.  Marshal  Roberts,  Sutton  and  Rice,  with  125 
men,  had  special  work  to  do  and  were  to  follow  later. 

All  through  the  fighting  of  1914  and  part  of  1915  the 
Guards  Battalions  were  not  gathered  together  as  one 
unit.  The  4th  Guards  Brigade,  which  went  out  in  August 
1914,  and  was  in  the  2nd  Division,  was  composed  of  the 
2nd  Battalion  Grenadier,  2nd  and  3rd  Battalions  Cold- 
stream, and  1st  Battalion  Irish  Guards  ;  the  1st  Brigade 
in  the  1st  Division  was  formed  of  the  1st  Battalion  Cold- 
stream, 1st  Battalion  Scots  Guards,  1st  Battalion  Black 
Watch,  and  the  2nd  Battalion  Royal  Munster  Fusiliers  ; 
in  the  7th  Division  was  the  20th  Brigade,  which  included 
the  1st  Battalion  Grenadier,  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards, 
2nd  Battalion  Gordon  Highlanders,  and  2nd  BattaUon 
Border  Regiment.  It  had  been  decided,  however,  to 
form  a  Guards  Division,  and  to  the  Guards  Battalions 
already  in  France  and  Belgium  were  added  the  new  Welsh 
Guards,  the  3rd  BattaHon  Grenadier  Guards,  which  had 
not  yet  been  used,  and  an  extra  battalion  above  estab- 
lishment from  each  of  the  Grenadier,  Coldstream  and 
Irish  Regiments  of  Guards. 

Aug.  1915]        THE   GUARDS  DIVISION  17 

The  brigades  of  the  division  were  formed  with  as 
little  alteration  of  existing  arrangements  as  was  possible  : 
thus  the  old  4th  Brigade  became  the  1st  Guards  Brigade  ; 
to  the  1st  Battalion  Coldstream  and  1st  Battalion  8cots 
Guards  were  added  the  3rd  Battalion  Grenadier  and  2nd 
Battalion  Irish  Guards,  which  now  became  the  2nd 
Guards  Brigade  ;  from  the  20th  Brigade  came  the  1st 
Battalion  Grenadier  and  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards,  to 
form,  with  the  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  and  1st  Battalion 
Welsh  Guards,  the  3rd  Guards  Brigade. 

The  4th  Battalion  Coldstream  Guards  became  the 
pioneer  battalion  to  the  division  and  did  most  excellent 

The  place  of  assembly  for  the  new  division  was  at 
G.H.Q.,  and  at  about  10.30  a.m.  on  August  20th  the  1st 
Battalion  Welsh  Guards  arrived  at  St.  Omer.  Here  they 
were  met  by  Major-Gen.  Lord  Cavan,  who  had  com- 
manded the  old  4th  Guards  Brigade  and  had  now  been 
promoted  to  the  command  of  the  Guards  Division.  Lord 
Cavan  then  informed  Lieut.-Col.  Murray  Threipland  of 
the  composition  of  the  division,  and  that  the  3rd  Brigade 
was  commanded  by  Brig.-Gen.  H.  J.  Heyworth.  The 
battalion  marched  to  billets  in  the  viUage  of  Arques, 
about  three  miles  from  St.  Omer. 

Everything  in  the  move  from  Wellington  Barracks  to 
Arques  had  been  as  satisfactory  as  might  be  expected. 
A  horse  seems  to  have  been  injured  at  Waterloo  Station, 
but  another  was  "drawn"  at  Havre.  A  more  serious 
loss,  and  one  much  regretted  in  the  future,  was  the  motor 
ambulance.  Mrs.  Murray  Threipland  had  presented  the 
battalion  with  a  motor  ambulance,  which  was  loaded  on 
a  ship  and  safely  transported  to  the  quay-side  at  Bou- 
logne. But  the  landing  officer  would  have  nothing  to 
do  with  it — there  had  been  an  Army  Order  that  units 
were  not  to  bring  such  things  into  France,  and  neither 
prayers  nor  entreaties,  nor  jocular  wanks  and  sly  digs  in 
the  ribs  would  move  that  official  to  allow  the  ambulance 
to  be  landed.  Rhys  Williams  departed  on  a  secret  mis- 
sion to  see  a  mysterious  person  in  high  authority,  but 
failed  in  his  ef!ort  to  get  round  the  order.     The  car  had 

18  ARQUES  [Chap.  II 

to  return  to  England  and  many  a  pleasant  outing  was 
lost  thereby — which  was  no  doubt  the  intention  of  the 

As  to  the  journey,  for  some  people  no  boat  in  the  world 
can  possibly  be  comfortable,  and  nothing  was  expected 
of  the  Palm  Branch  and  St.  Petersburg  ;  we  will  say  no 
more  of  the  train  journey  than  that  there  were  thirty-four 
men  in  each  truck,  buoyed  up  with  the  novelty  of  their 
situation,  and  calling  on  "  Dai ''  or  "  lanto  "  to  witness 
some  strange  sight  in  this  foreign  land. 

The  immediate  business  at  St.  Omer  was  divisional 
training,  and  the  battalion  had  an  active  but  a  very 
happy  and  comfortable  time  there.  Arques  lies  at  the 
junction  of  a  river,  called  Aa,  with  the  canal  system 
which  runs  through  St.  Omer  and  Watten  and  branches 
to  Calais  and  Dunkerque.  On  the  right  bank  of  the 
canal  is  the  forest  of  Clairmarais,  the  scene  of  several 
field-days.  On  the  left  bank  (the  Arques  side)  the  coun- 
try is  flat  for  some  way  and  then  gently  undulating. 
But  the  whole  district,  with  its  tree-lined  roads  and  many 
small  villages  and  hamlets,  is  very  pleasing. 

Training  never  ceased  during  the  war.  The  hardened 
veteran,  out  of  the  line  for  a  rest,  joined  the  young  re- 
cruit, who  had  just  arrived  in  France  for  the  first  time, 
and  trained.  Besides  the  contemplated  field  training 
there  was  special  training  in  bombing,  wiring  and  trench 

Many  bombs  had  been  tried  since  the  "  jam- tin  "  days. 
There  was  a  thing  like  a  bit  of  large-sized  gas-pipe  called 
the  "  Bethune,"  though  whether  that  was  its  official 
name  we  do  not  know.  The  War  Office  had  produced  a 
bomb  on  a  stick  with  a  lot  of  white  streamers  to  it ;  there 
was  a  long  and  a  short  Hales  Grenade  ;  there  was  a  very 
light  bomb  like  a  medium-sized  yeUow  vegetable  marrow, 
with  a  string  on  the  end  which  one  pulled  before  throwing 
it ;  and  maybe  there  were  many  others.  But  the  Mills 
Bomb  was  becoming  the  universal  bomb,  Keith  Men- 
zies,  with  a  number  of  N.C.O.'s,  went  through  a  course 
and  became  bombing  officer. 

Snipers,  of  whom  there  were  thirty,  came  under  J.  J.  P. 

Aug.  1915]  TRAINING  19 

Evans,  more  commonly  known  as  Jimjack.  There  were 
some  good  men  among  these  snipers — Sergt.  Bowles,  then 
a  corporal,  had  wonderful  eyesight,  and  did  extraordin- 
arily good  work  later  on  ;  and  Parker,  an  ex-gamekeeper, 
was  an  excellent  man,  as  were  Sergt.  Bonar  and  Pte. 

The  trench-digging  was  done  at  Clety  and  Avroult, 
ten  and  twelve  miles  away.  Capt.  Heath,  of  the  55th 
Company  R.E.,  gave  instruction  in  wiring. 

At  this  time  the  machine  guns  were  still  part  of  the 
battalion  establishment,  and  Khys  Williams  (now  a  cap- 
tain), Wilfred  Gough,  and  Fox-Pitt,  with  sixty-six  men, 
went  through  a  course.  The  battalion  received  another 
gun  while  at  Arques  to  make  up  the  full  complement  of 
four.  They  now  possessed  two  Maxims,  one  Nordenfelt 
(converted),  and  a  Vickers. 

A  sudden  move  was  practised,  and  we  find  the  Com- 
manding Officer  noting  that  the  transport  was  late  in 
starting.  "  Too  much  stuff  on  wagons.  Attempt  had 
been  made  to  carry  all  drummers'  kits  and  kits  of  thirty 
snipers.''  So  the  transport  repeated  the  practice  next 
day,  with  the  result  that  "  loading  improved." 

Nigel  Wells,  who  commanded  the  transport,  was  a 
hard  old  warrior  from  one  of  the  South  American  Repub- 
lics. His  face  was  the  colour  of  mahogany  (he  was  called 
"  Teak  "),  and  he  wore  an  eyeglass  and  a  small  piece  of 
moustache  about  half  the  width  of  his  mouth.  He  said 
he  was  twenty- nine  years  of  age,  and  was  annoyed  when 
some  of  the  younger  officers,  looking  at  his  sun-scorched 
face,  suggested  he  might  be  a  hundred — the  truth  lay 
anywhere  between  the  two. 

The  greatest  keenness  and  good- humour  prevailed  in 
the  battalion  during  this  training  at  Arques.  Osmond 
Williams  and  Palmer,  commanders  of  the  two  flank  com- 
panies, had  a  standing  feud  as  to  whose  was  the  best 
company.  Dick  Bulkeley  would  come  into  the  mess  and 
pull  both  their  legs  by  boasting  about  his  own  company. 
Soon  they  were  hard  at  it.  One  would  claim  to  have 
marched  with  full  kit  twenty  miles  in  six  hours,  the  other 
would  say  he  had  done  the  same  thing  in  five  and  three- 

20  ARQUES  [Chap.  II 

quarter  hours.  And  so  on.  If  Humphrey  Dene  was 
there  the  thing  became  a  noisy ''  rag."'  But  both  Osmond 
WiUiams  and  Palmer  were  born  commanders  of  men,  and 
each  could  draw  on  valuable  past  experience.  That  the 
battalion  was  hard  and  at  the  top  of  its  form  at  the  end 
of  these  few  weeks  of  extra  training  at  Arques  there  can 
be  no  doubt. 

The  mess  was  a  problem  which  occupied  the  attention 
of  the  officers  at  this  time.  Bradney  (rejoicing  in  the 
plebeian  name  of  "  Ginger  ")  was  Mess  President.  Dick 
Bulkeley,  protesting  that  he  "  knew  all  about  it  from  a 
pal,"  had  bought,  before  leaving  England,  mess-boxes 
for  headquarters  and  each  of  the  companies.  These  were 
very  well  made,  but  remarkably  heavy,  containing  slots 
and  holes  and  trays  for  plates  and  cutlery.  He  had  also 
ordered  vast  quantities  of  foodstuffs  to  be  sent  out  from 
Fortnum  &  Mason.  Grumbles  began  to  be  heard  about 
the  weight  of  these  boxes  and  their  uselessness,  and  about 
the  sameness  of  the  food.  Dick  Bulkeley  notes  in  his 
Diary  :  "A  certain  amount  of  discontent  about  the 
officers'  messing — very  bad — no  fresh  food  (August 
24th)  "  ;  "  Dined  with  Grizzy  Napier  No.  3  Company 
1st  Bn.  Grenadiers  at  Wizernes.  .  .  .  Quite  a  nice 
change  to  taste  some  well-cooked,  good  fresh  food 
(August  28th).''  Bradney  set  about  changing  the  menu, 
and  apparently  made  a  "  corner  "  in  rabbits.  Very  few 
members  of  the  mess  liked  rabbits,  but  they  had  to  be 
eaten,  and  Bradney,  though  he  had  a  healthy  appetite, 
could  not  eat  them  all  himself.  The  rabbits  started  an 
argument  which  gained  in  volume  and  ended  in  enquiry. 
A  mess  meeting  was  held. 

There  have  been  many  systems  of  running  a  mess,  but 
the  Commanding  Officer  laid  down  at  Arques  certain 
principles  which  were  of  incalculable  good  and  were  in 
the  main  adhered  to  until  he  left  the  battalion. 

He  insisted  that  where  it  was  possible  there  should 
always  be  a  battalion  mess.  Company  messes  tend  to 
separate  the  battalion  into  water-tight  compartments, 
but  with  one  mess  all  officers  are  brought  together  every 
day,  which  is  good.      It  also  levels  expense,  and  the 

Sept.  1915]  SPORT  21 

Commanding  Officer's  remar]<:s  had  the  effect  of  so 
reducing  expense  that  during  the  first  year  in  France 
messing  cost  each  officer  just  under  forty  pounds. 
Bradney  was  deposed  in  sorrow,  not  in  anger,  and 
Keith  Menzies  reigned  in  his  stead. 

Of  sport,  in  the  way  of  organised  meetings,  little  was 
done,  but  Claud  Insole  writes  a  delightful  account  of  a 
Gymkhana  given  by  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  : 

"  September  2nd. 

"  I  have  just  come  back  from  a  Gymkhana  given  by 
the  2nd  Scots  Guards.  It  was  quite  a  good  show,  and 
crowds  of  people  there.  We  went  over  in  a  motor-lorry. 
There  were  jumping  competitions  for  the  officers,  and 
tugs  of  war  and  pony-races  for  the  men.  Teams  of  four 
officers  entered  for  the  jumping  from  different  regiments, 
but  as  several  cavalry  regiments,  like  the  Greys  and  12  th 
Lancers  and  20th  Hussars,  entered,  we  could  not  expect 
to  do  much  on  our  transport  animals.  The  feature  of 
our  lot  was  Rupert  (Lewis)  who  went  slowly  round  on  an 
old  pony  knocking  everything  flat ;  but  he  was  very  clever 
to  get  round  at  all.  The  Colonel  of  the  Scots  Guards 
(Cator)  came  flat  on  his  back  in  the  water,  which  caused 
huge  merriment.  There  was  a  large  tent  of  tea  and 
drinks,  and  the  pipers  of  the  Scots  Guards  performed, 
and  the  whole  thing  was  exactly  like  a  small  country 
horse-show.  To-night  a  few  of  us  are  dining  at  the  little 
estaminet  I  live  at,  as  we  get  so  tired  of  the  mess.  Some 
go  and  dine  at  St.  Omer,  but  I  get  plenty  of  walking  to 
do  without  walking  unnecessarily,  and  I  have  only  been 
there  once  in  a  motor-lorry." 

Brig. -Gen.  Heyworth  soon  became  popular  with  the 
battalion.  He  was  a  very  handsome  man  in  face  and 
figure — very  spick-and-span,  with  well-cut  clothes,  and 
boots  which  were  a  triumph  of  polishing.  His  hair, 
which  was  abundant,  was  snow-white,  as  was  his  mous- 
tache, and  he  generally  wore  almost  white  wash-leather 
gloves.     His  first  advice  to  the  battalion  was  :    "  The 

22  AttQUES  [Chap.  Il 

only  way  for  us  to  win  this  war  is  to  go  on  killing  Ger- 
mans like  vermin  "  (Bulkeley  Diary),  He  went  on  leave 
for  a  short  time,  when  the  brigade  was  commanded  by 
Lieut.-Col.  Murray  Threipland — Palmer  commanding  the 
battalion  meanwhile — but  he  inspected  the  battalion 
twice  and  addressed  the  officers  and  men,  complimenting 
them  on  their  work. 

Sir  Francis  Lloyd  paid  a  visit  to  France  during  this 
time,  and  was  present  when  Lord  Cavan  inspected  the 
division.  Also  General  Haking  addressed  the  officers  on 
the  principles  of  attack.  He  advocated  that  platoon 
commanders  should  lead  on  and  not  worry  about  their 
flanks  ;  reserves  would  be  behind  them  to  fill  up  gaps, 
reinforce,  clear  up  the  situation  and  make  good  what  had 
been  won.  This  was  understood  to  be  the  pith  of  his 
argument,  and  in  view  of  later  events  is  worth  remem- 
bering— as  is  much  more  which  this  general  has  written 
and  said. 

The  period  of  training  came  to  an  end,  and  on  Septem- 
ber 22nd  the  battalion  marched  to  Roquetoire,  and  from 
there  to  Norrent-Fontes.  On  the  24th  the  Commanding 
Officer  attended  a  conference  at  Lillers. 

We  know  that  during  the  early  part  of  1915,  while  the 
Welsh  Guards  had  been  in  process  of  formation,  activity 
in  France  had  consisted,  on  the  British  side,  of  engage- 
ments at  Neuve  Chapelle  on  March  10th,  at  Hill  60  on 
April  17th,  and  round  Festubert  on  May  9th.  The  Ger- 
mans had  launched  their  big  attack,  known  as  the  second 
battle  of  Ypres,  on  April  22nd,  when,  tlianks  to  the  use 
of  gas,  they  did  very  well — and  but  for  the  gallantry  of 
the  Canadians  would  have  done  even  better.  And  they 
recaptured  Hill  60  on  May  5th.  But  there  had  been 
little  else,  except  a  smart  action  by  British  troops  round 
Hooge,  and  a  period  of  comparative  quiet  had  reigned 
throughout  the  summer. 

A  new  phase  of  the  war  was  about  to  commence.  It 
must  be  remembered  that  England  had  to  make  an  army 
for  continental  use,  on  a  quite  different  basis  to  the 
small,  highly  trained  force  we  had  previously  considered 

Sept.  1915]    THE   CONFERENCE   BEFORE   LOOS    23 

sufficient  for  our  needs.  Not  only  must  we  have  masses 
of  men,  but  the  Germans  had  clearly  shown  us  the  need 
for  volume  of  artillery  fire.  At  Xeuve  Chapelle  new 
artillery  had  come  into  action,  and  in  this  battle  Sir 
John  French  had  concentrated  some  300  guns  on  a 
comparatively  small  front ;  and  the  same,  as  regards 
artillery,  may  be  said  of  Festubert.  It  was  the  new 
artillery  coming  into  action  as  it  was  formed. 

In  a  similar  way  new  formations  of  infantry  kept 
arriving  in  France. 

So,  when  we  say  that  the  effect  of  the  new  army  was 
first  felt  by  the  Germans  in  the  month  of  September,  we 
do  not  mean  that  new  units  were  not  used  before  that 
date.  The  period  of  quiet  through  the  summer  had 
given  time  for  them  to  accumulate,  so  that  we  had  not 
only  taken  over  a  greater  length  of  line  but  had  made 
preparations  for  a  bigger  attack  than  had  been  dreamed 
of  before. 

The  conference  which  the  Commanding  Officer  at- 
tended at  Lillers  was  addressed  by  Lieut. -Gen.  Haking, 
who  commanded  the  XI  Corps  (composed  of  the  Guards 
Division  and  the  21st  and  24th  Divisions— two  absolutely 
new  formations  of  new  army  units). 

The  Commanding  Officer  notes  that  Gen.  Haking  made 
a  fine  speech,  but  spoke  too  low  and  too  fast.  He  said 
an  attack  was  on  the  point  of  being  launched  by  the 
French  and  ourselves.  It  would  stretch  north  as  far  as 
Ypres,  but  the  big  effort  would  be  made  by  the  First 
Army  (of  which  the  Guards  Division  was  a  part)  under 
Sir  Douglas  Haig.  The  army  would  attack  from  the 
La  Bassee  Canal  to  a  point  south  of  Loos.  The  IV  Corps 
(RawHnson)  would  be  on  the  right,  and  the  I  Corps 
(Gough)  on  the  left.  The  French  would  attack  south  of 
Lens  in  co-operation  with  us,  and  the  battle  would  start 
the  next  day  (25th).  In  rear  of  the  centre  of  the  I  and 
IV  Corps  would  be  the  XI  Corps,  with  the  21st  and  24th 
Divisions  in  front  and  the  Guards  Division  behind  them. 
The  objective  Qf  the  XI  Corps  was  Douai.  The  proposed 
plan  was  that  the  I  and  IV  Corps  would  take  the  German 
system  of  defence.     If  they  failed  the  XI  Corps  would 


24  THE  MARCH  TO   LOOS  [Chap.  II 

assist,  but  if  they  succeeded  the  cavalry  would  be  put 
through  and  the  XI  Corps  would  follow  behind  the 

He  further  explained  that  the  coming  attack  would 
develop  into  the  greatest  battle  of  the  war  and  would 
go  a  long  way  to  shorten,  if  not  end  it. 

All  this,  being  no  longer  secret,  was  afterwards  re- 
peated to  the  officers  and  men  of  the  battalion. 

The  next  day,  the  25th,  the  march  was  resumed  under 
the  most  trying  conditions  of  war.  The  concentration 
of  troops  was  such  that  the  roads  were  blocked  again  and 
again— infantry,  artillery,  cavalry,  ammunition  columns, 
engineers'  stores,  all  kinds  of  stores  ;  and  odd  carts,  odd 
little  bands  of  men,  on  the  road,  by  the  side  of  the  road, 
cutting  across  country — the  whole  making  a  continuous 
sound  punctuated  by  shouts  and  curses.  This  congestion 
meant  continual  halting,  and  nothing  is  more  tiring  for 
troops.  The  transport  was  cut  in  half  by  a  cavalry 
brigade  at  Brouay,  and  Wells  used  to  tell  the  story  of 
how  he  cursed  the  brigadier  under  the  impression  that 
he  was  a  junior  officer.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  cavalry 
had  the  right  of  way,  and  divisions  had  been  ordered  to 
give  them  the  road.  Wells,  however,  did  not  know  this, 
although  if  he  had  he  would  probably  have  cursed  just 
the  same. 

There  was  some  confusion  in  orders  and  billeting  ar- 
rangements. The  battalion  passed  through  Haillicourt, 
wandered  about  in  the  country  beyond,  and  eventually 
returned  to  the  village,  which,  being  recognised  by  the 
men,  although  it  was  dark,  was  greeted  with  the  song, 
"  Here  we  are,  here  we  are,  here  we  are  again  !  " 

This  return  to  Haillicourt  was  at  11.30  p.m.  and  billet- 
ing was  not  too  easy.  Palmer,  in  a  fit  of  rage  at  not 
being  admitted  by  the  inhabitants  of  one  house,  broke 
down  the  door.  The  transport  did  not  arrive  for  a  couple 
of  hours,  and  the  men  had  to  turn  in  without  their  tea, 
the  cookers  being  with  the  transport. 

The  Commanding  Officer  notes  it  was  "  a  very  long 
and  tiring  day — men  were  very  cheery — good  news  kept 
coming  in,  most  of  it  probably  untrue — poured  with  rain 

Sept.  1915]         THE  MARCH  TO  LOOS  25 

all  afternoon  and  evening — marcli  discipline  very  good 
all  day  and  night/' 

The  march  had  been  accompanied  by  the  distant  rum- 
ble of  guns,  which  never  ceased  the  next  day  when  the 
journey  was  continued  to  Vermelles.  The  roads  were  if 
possible  even  more  congested.  The  transport  had  been 
brigaded,  but  Wells  accompanied  the  battalion  with  two 
tool-carts,  two  ammunition-carts,  the  doctor's  cart,  the 
officers'  mess  cart,  and  the  mules.  The  brigaded  trans- 
port was  again  cut  of!,  and  arrived  some  hours  after  the 

A  big  bombardment  was  going  on  on  the  left  when  the 
battalion  arrived  at  Vermelles.  The  British  guns  round 
about  that  village  were  active,  and  there  was  a  continu- 
ous rattle  of  rifle-fire.  A  few  ruins,  still  able  to  give  a 
little  shelter,  existed,  but  they  were  already  occupied  by 
troops,  so,  a  convenient  trench  having  been  found  on  the 
outskirts  of  the  village,  in  case  of  shelling,  a  bivouac 
camp  was  formed  for  the  night. 

What  would  have  been  looked  upon  as  superhuman 
effort  before  the  war  became  very  soon  an  ordinary 
achievement.  Could  you  have  slept  on  a  ploughed  field  in 
the  pouring  rain  ?  Could  you  even  have  marched  all  day, 
gone  without  sleep,  and  marched  again  next  day  ?  Un- 
doubtedly excitement  gives  powers  of  endurance  beyond 
those  of  normal  belief.  And  the  Welsh  Guards  were 
deeply  stirred  by  their  first  approach  to  battle — the  guns, 
our  own  and  the  Germans',  the  rifle-fire,  the  star-lights, 
all  was  new  to  them  and  they  were  filled  with  speculative 
thought.  The  hum  of  conversation  was  going  on  round 
the  bivouacs — there  was  not  much  sleep  that  night. 

Breakfasts  were  served  at  5  a.m.  on  the  27th  as  a 
precaution  against  hunger  in  the  event  of  sudden  orders 
to  move.  At  midday  orders  were  received  that  the 
brigade  would  march  at  2  p.m.  for  Loos. 



Before  we  follow  the  fortunes  of  the  battalion  at  Loos 
we  must  determine  how  far  the  plan  sketched  out  by  Gen. 
Haking  succeeded.  The  divisions  of  the  two  attacking 
corps  in  line  were  the  47th,  15th,  1st,  7th,  9th,  and  2nd. 
The  main  points  to  remember  are  that  Loos  was  on  the 
right  of  the  attack,  and  behind  Loos  was  Hill  70,  the 
crest  of  the  hill  being  about  a  mile  from  the  village. 
Over  the  crest  of  the  hill  runs  a  main  road  from  Lens  to 
La  Bassee,  passing  through  HuUuch  and  Haisnes,  that 
is  to  say  along  the  whole  of  the  front  attacked.  If  we 
keep  this  road  in  mind  we  can  get  the  relative  positions 
of  places  of  importance  by  placing  them  on  the  near  or 
the  far  side  of  the  road.  From  right  to  left  of  the  line 
we  have  Hill  70,  with  the  crest  practically  on  the  road  ; 
Puis  14  on  the  far  side  ;  Bois  Hugo  on  the  far  side  and 
close  to  Puis  14  ;  the  Chalk  Pit  just  on  the  near  side  and 
close  to  Bois  Hugo  ;  HuUuch  on  the  far  side  ;  Cite  St. 
Elie  on  the  road  ;  Hohenzollern  Redoubt  a  good  mile  on 
the  near  side  of  the  road  ;  Haisnes  on  the  road  ;  Auchy 
a  mile  on  the  near  side  of  the  road. 

The  47th  Division  started  off  well  on  the  right  and 
captured  the  ground  south  of  Loos,  making  a  strong 
flank  by  seizing  some  slag-heaps  ;  they  also  captured  the 
south  end  of  Loos.  The  15th  Division  took  Hill  70  and 
Fosse  14.  The  1st  Division  got  up  on  the  line  of  the 
Lens— La  Bassee  Road.  The  7th  Division  reached  the 
outskirts  of  Hulluch  and  St.  Elie.  The  9th  Division  had 
a  very  difficult  task.  Their  line  of  advance  was  in  the 
direction  of  Haisnes,  but  between  them  and  this  village 


Sept.  1915]       THE  POSITION  AT  LOOS  27 

was  the  Hohenzollern  Redoubt  and  Fosse  8.  Their  left 
did  not  make  any  headway,  but  they  took  Fosse  8  and 
the  Hohenzollern  Redoubt,  and  a  few  Highlanders  on 
their  right  even  went  as  far  as  Haisnes.  The  2nd  Division 
were  unable  to  make  any  advance,  and  Auchy  remained 
in  German  hands. 

All  this  happened  on  the  25th,  and  it  will  be  seen  that 
the  failure  on  the  left  of  the  line  put  all  the  other  divisions 
in  an  awkward  position.  Also  the  I  and  IV  Corps  had 
failed  to  get  through,  and  according  to  plan  the  XI  Corps 
was  to  assist. 

The  21st  and  24th  Divisions  were  engaged  on  Septem- 
ber 26th,  but  in  the  bitter  and  varying  battle  which  raged 
during  that  day,  far  from  helping  the  other  two  corps  to 
get  through,  their  aid  was  seriously  wanted  to  hold  what 
had  been  gained.  In  this  war  of  attrition,  until  the 
enemy's  reserves  had  vanished,  it  was  always  possible  for 
'  him  to  make  most  vigorous  counter-attacks,  and  the 
results  of  battles  at  this  date  cannot  be  judged  by  the 
amount  of  ground  gained  or  the  ability  or  inability  to 
get  through  the  German  line.  The  British  rush  had  spent 
itself,  and  while  so  doing  the  Germans  had  massed  troops 
for  counter-attack— as  much  to  take  their  toll  of  lives 
and  prisoners  as  to  restore  the  situation. 

The  success  of  a  battle  planned  to  break  through  the 
enemy  line  when  he  is  known  to  have  large  reserves  must 
depend  very  largely  on  surprise  and  time.  The  British 
were  making  feints  and  demonstrations  all  the  way  up 
to  Ypres — Foch  on  the  British  right  was  attacking,  and 
there  was  a  big  French  attack  down  in  Champagne.  But 
the  German  could  still  mass  his  reserves,  watch  where 
his  troops  held  us,  and  where  our  forward  rush  had  led 
us  into  dangerous  salients,  and  then  strike  back  with 
speed  and  vigour.  It  will  be  understood  that  the  margin 
of  time  for  a  possible  break  through  the  German  defences 
was  very  small.  The  success  of  the  Germans  in  holding 
the  left  of  our  attack  had  given  us  a  very  odd  sort  of 
line,  and,  as  w^e  had  failed  to  get  through,  it  became  of 
necessity  a  ding-dong  battle. 

On  the  27th  the  most  advanced  points  of  our  attack 

28  LOOS  [Chap.  Ill 

had  been  driven  in.  The  men  of  the  15th  Division  who 
had  pushed  out  over  Hill  70  and  Fosse  14  had  found 
themselves  in  a  solitary  kind  of  position,  with  few  friends 
and  many  enemies.  They  had  already  tried  to  make 
themselves  more  comfortable  before  the  21st  Division 
went  up  to  help  them,  but  Fosse  14,  Hill  70,  and  the 
Chalk  Pit  all  went  back  to  the  enemy,  and  the  net  gain 
on  the  right  of  the  British  line  was  Loos. 

At  12.30  p.m.  Lieut.-Col.  Murray-Threipland  received 
orders  ^  that  the  3rd  Brigade  would  march  to  Loos  in  the 
following  order:  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards,  Ist 
Battalion  Welsh  Guards,  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards, 
and  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards.  The  2nd  Brigade 
were  to  attack  the  Chalk  Pit  and  Fosse  14,  and  when  the 
brigadier  was  satisfied  that  they  had  occupied  or  practi- 
cally taken  these  places  the  3rd  Brigade  would  commence 
an  attack  on  Hill  70.  The  attack  would  be  made  by  the 
4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  with  the  Welsh  Guards 
in  support  in  Loos.  If  the  attacking  battalion  suffered 
heavily  the  Welsh  Guards  would  occupy  the  line  taken 
by  the  Grenadiers. 

The  ruined  village  of  Vermelles  now  presented  a  scene 
of  activity  that  had  never  been  equalled  in  its  most 
prosperous  days.  From  the  very  ruins  came  the  short, 
sharp  thunder-clap  of  guns.  Troops  were  everywhere. 
The  two  days  and  two  nights  of  battle  had  left  obvious 
marks.  A  stream  of  wounded  and  weary,  drawn- faced 
stragglers  limped  along  the  road  mixed  up  with  the  more 
energetic  traffic.  A  move  had  been  ordered  and  the 
bivouac  camps  were  busy. 

At  2.30  p.m.  the  Welsh  Guards,  headed  by  the  Com- 
manding Officer,  marched  of!  to  Loos. 

Lieut.-Col.  Murray-Threipland  always  walked  in  a 
determined,  thrusting  manner,  with  his  head  a  little  bit 
forward.  Standing  over  six  feet,  with  broad  shoulders 
and  hard,  lean  figure,  he  had  a  commanding  presence. 
Walking  by  the  Commanding  Officer's  side  was 
Perrins,  with  high  cheek-bones  and  eyes  which  seemed 
to  slant  upwards.     He  generally  carried  a  large  leather 

1  Appendix  Bl. 

Sept.  1915]       THE  APPROACH   ON  LOOS  29 

case  full  of  papers  slimg  round  him,  an  electric  lamp,  a 
revolver,  and  was  said  to  have  once  added  to  his  equip- 
ment a  Malay  knife  of  fearful  shape  and  size.  He  had  a 
springy  sort  of  walk  and  generally  looked  on  the  ground. 

The  order  of  march  was  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company, 
with  Osmond  Williams,  Mawby,  Geoffrey  Crawshay, 
Smith  and  PhiUp  Howard ;  No.  2  with  Dick  Bulkeley, 
Rupert  Lewis,  Keith  Menzies  and  Copland  Griffiths  ; 
No.  3  with  George  Philipps,  Harry  Rice,  Randolph  and 
Sutton ;  No.  4  with  Palmer,  Claud  Insole,  Basil  Ham- 
brough  and  Evan  Thomas.  Humphrey  Dene  was  sent 
as  liaison  officer  betw^een  the  battalion  and  the  brigade, 
and  Jim  jack  Evans  was  with  headquarters  as  scouting 
officer  and  general  utility.  The  rest  were  left  behind 
with  the  transport,  or  near  it. 

There  is  a  road  between  VermeUes  and  Loos,  and  after 
following  this  a  little  way  the  whole  brigade  turned  off 
to  the  left  and  went  across  country.  On  leaving  the  road 
they  proceeded  in  artillery  formation. 

Before  coming  to  Loos  there  is  a  rise  in  the  ground 
followed  by  a  long  gentle  slope  down  to  the  village. 
When  the  4th  Battalion  Grenadiers  topped  this  rise  they 
were  immediately  seen  by  the  enemy,  who  promptly 
opened  heavy  artillery  fire  on  them  which  grew  in  volume 
as  succeeding  platoons,  in  close  column  of  fours,  slowly 
rose  at  intervals  over  the  sky-line  and  proceeded  steadily 
towards  Loos. 

This  approach  on  Loos  has  become  historical.  It  was 
witnessed  by  many.  What  troops  there  were  over  a  large 
stretch  of  the  front  line  to  the  left  could  see  right  up  this 
slope,  and  it  has  been  described  by  many  as  a  most 
thrilling  sight.  Shrapnel  burst,  making  puffs  of  smoke 
overhead,  high  explosive  shells  sent  up  sudden  fountains 
of  mud  and  black  smoke  which  completely  obliterated, 
according  to  the  view-point,  now  one,  now  another  of 
those  small  squares  of  advancing  men,  who,  however, 
slowly  and  steadily  continued  to  advance,  the  brigade 
covering  a  large  area  of  ground  in  this  formation. 

The  battahon  was  to  be  in  support  in  or  about  the 
village,  and  finding,  just  outside  it,  a  German  trench, 

30  LOOS  [Chap.  Ill 

the  Commanding  Officer  ordered  the  battalion  into  it 
while  he  went  forward  to  find  the  brigadier,  who  had 
sent  word  that  he  was  in  Loos. 

An  unarmed  Highlander  was  wandering  about  these 
trenches.  He  refused  to  get  in  or  take  any  sort  of  cover, 
but,  constituting  himself  into  a  sort  of  guide  and  showman, 
first  pointed  out  the  best  bits  of  trench  to  get  into  and 
then  directed  attention  to  places  of  interest — Hill  70,  the 
Chalk  Pit,  Fosse  14,  Hugo  Wood.  As  he  walked  up  and 
down  amidst  a  hail  of  shells  the  men  repeatedly  urged 
him  to  get  into  the  trench,  but  he  would  not,  and  spoke 
with  the  utmost  contempt  of  German  shells.  Afterwards 
he  went  with  the  battalion  into  Loos,  where  he  disap- 

IMeanwhilethe  Commanding  Officer  of  the  4th  Battalion 
Grenadiers  had  been  gassed  and  the  position  of  his  bat- 
talion was  for  the  moment  unknown.  The  brigadier 
directed  that  the  Welsh  Guards  should  be  brought  into 
the  main  street  of  the  town  and  wait  there  for  orders. 

And  so  the  men  of  the  battalion  presently  saw  the 
thrusting  figure  of  their  Commanding  Officer,  T\'ith  Per- 
rins  tripping  beside  him,  come  rapidly  towards  them. 
They  were  taken  out  of  the  trench  and  into  Loos,  where 
the  gas  shelling  was  so  bad  they  had  to  put  on  their 
horrible  slimy  bags  called  H.P.  Helmets. 

Humphrey  Dene,  describing  the  scene,  says  :  "  There 
was  the  battalion  standing  about  anyhow,  and  making 
noises  like  frogs  and  penny  tin  trumpets  as  they  spat 
and  blew  down  the  tubes  of  their  helmets,  and  shells 
crashed  into  houses,  and  Bill  (the  Commanding  Officer) 
dashed  about  trying  to  see  Brigade  Headquarters  through 
the  dirty  glass  of  his  helmet,  which  was  absolutely  useless 
because  he  refused  to  tuck  the  ends  into  his  coat.'* 

But  he  did  find  the  brigade  and  was  shown  a  map  and 
a  point  on  it  where  some  of  the  4th  Battalion  Grenadiers 
were  supposed  to  be,  and  was  ordered  to  take  his  bat- 
talion to  them  and  commence  an  attack  on  Hill  70. 

He  then  told  the  company  commanders  to  take  their 
companies  through  the  village  and  get  shelter  where  they 
could  while  he  went  to  find  the  Grenadiers, 

Sept.  1915]  THE   ATTACK  31 

He  discovered  Miles  Ponsonby  in  a  low  trench  on  the 
south-east  of  the  village.  Ponsonby  said  he  had  not 
more  than  200  men  ^\^th  him. 

The  Commanding  Officer  then  made  the  following 
arrangements  :  The  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  would 
advance  on  the  right  on  a  two  platoon  frontage,  and 
Ponsonby  with  his  Grenadiers  on  a  similar  frontage  on 
the  left.  No.  2  Company  Welsh  Guards  would  support 
the  Prince  of  Wales's  and  No.  3  the  Grenadiers.  He 
gave  a  clump  of  trees  on  the  sky-line  as  a  mark  to 
advance  on. 

Returning  once  more  to  Loos,  he  collected  his  company 
commanders  and  issued  his  orders.  As  the  Prince  of 
Wales's  advanced  No.  2  moved  into  place  and  then  No.  3  ; 
No.  4  and  Battalion  H.Q.  remained  in  the  village. 

The  time  was  noted  as  6.2  p.m.  about  a  quarter  of  an 
hour  before  dark. 

Headquarters  were  installed  in  a  convenient  ruin.  At 
6.50  p.m.  the  first  report  was  sent  to  the  brigade  :  **  A 
wounded  corporal  reports  that  the  4th  Grenadier  and 
1st  Welsh  Guards  have  captured  two  lines  of  trenches. 
I  have  launched  my  last  company.  2nd  Scots  Guards 
should  come  up  handy.  Can  you  give  me  any  informa- 
tion about  my  right  flank,  as  I  am  anxious  about  it  ?  " 

Palmer,  with  No.  4  Company,  had  been  sent  up  to  the 
trench  where  the  Grenadiers  had  been,  at  the  commence- 
ment of  the  attack,  with  instructions  to  try  and  get  in 
touch  with  companies  in  front  and  find  out  if  they  re- 
quired any  reinforcements,  but  not  to  go  himself,  and  to 
send  back  any  information  he  could  get. 

Rhys  Williams,  with  two  guns,  was  sent  to  some 
trenches  on  the  right  held  by  the  10th  Hussars. 

The  waiting  at  Battalion  H.Q.  when  an  attack  has 
been  launched  is  the  most  appalling  experience.  A  long 
time,  or  what  seems  a  long  time,  elapses  before  any  news 
of  the  success  of  companies,  or  their  position,  comes  in. 
There  is  practically  nothing  to  do  but  think,  although  an 
attempt  is  made  to  do  some  more  active  work.  A  map, 
a  t}'pe\\T:itten  sheet  of  paper  is  clung  to  as  a  sort  of  life- 
buoy, though  probably  neither  conveys  anything  to  one's 

32  LOOS  [Chap.  Ill 

mind.  A  message,  even  the  classical  question  of  how 
many  pots  of  raspberry  jam  have  been  issued,  becomes 
important ;  in  fact,  any  excuse  for  activity  of  mind  or 
body  is  welcome. 

The  first  message  of  importance  came  from  Keith 
Menzies,  who  reported  in  person  that  No.  2  Company 
was  held  up  and  wanted  reinforcements.  He  spoke  of 
a  banlc  on  the  top  of  the  hill,  and  said  that  the  company 
were  some  twenty  or  thirty  yards  beyond  it  and  could 
get  no  farther. 

Soon  after  Menzies  came  Rupert  Lewis  with  a  similar 
story.  Lewis's  glasses  had  got  fogged  and  dirty,  it  was 
pitch  dark,  and  he  had  fallen  into  a  trench  and  bruised 
his  head.  He  had  been  promptly  jumped  on  by  some 
cavalrymen  who  occupied  the  trench  and  thought  he  was 
a  German.  However,  when  he  had  recovered  his  wind 
and  senses,  he  explained  who  he  was  and  was  allowed  to 


From  what  he  said  the  Commanding  Officer  concluded 
that  it  was  not  a  case  of  reinforcements  but  that  the  front 
line  had  gone  far  enough.  The  brigadier  had  been  most 
emphatic  that  the  line  to  be  occupied  was  to  be  on  the 
reverse  slope  only. 

Keith  Menzies  was  sent  back  to  tell  Dick  Bulkeley  to 
dig  in  where  he  was.  Palmer  was  ordered  to  move 
farther  up  the  hill  in  closer  support,  and  his  place  was 
taken  by  one  company  of  Scots  Guards,  which  had  just 
arrived.  A  message  was  also  sent  to  the  brigadier  to 
the  effect  that  the  required  point  had  been  reached,  that 
the  Grenadier  and  Welsh  Guards  had  been  considerably 
knocked  about,  and  that  it  was  advisable  to  bring  up  all 
the  Scots  Guards  to  dig  in  near  the  new  line  and  allow 
the  attacking  troops  to  reorganise. 

The  right  flank  was  causing  the  Commanding  Ofiicer 
some  anxiety, as  it  was  obvious  that  a  large  gap  must  exist 
between  the  right  of  his  new  line  and  the  nearest  troops 
in  the  old  line,  the  10th  Hussars.  So  he  sent  for  Palmer 
and  told  him  to  take  his  company  up  and  make  good  the 
gap.  Palmer  asked  if  he  might  go  and  reconnoitre  the 
situation,  but  was  told  to  send  some  one  else  and  only  in 

Sept.  1915]  THE   ATTACK  33 

the  event  of  it  being  absolutely  necessary  should  he  go 

At  the  same  time  a  message  arrived  from  Rhys 
Williams,  who  was  also  anxious  about  this  flank,  asking 
for  news  of  the  advance  and  for  two  more  guns.  Gough 
was  sent  up  with  both. 

It  must  be  remembered  that  the  time  of  the  attack  was 
just  as  night  was  falling,  and  that  the  difficulty  of  getting 
up  the  hill  was  not  occasioned  by  shelling  or  rifle-fire  but 
by  the  darkness.  To  keep  direction  and  keep  in  touch 
was  extremely  hard,  as  it  always  is  in  any  night 

At  the  commencement  of  the  advance  it  was  still  possi- 
ble to  see  the  clump  of  trees  on  top  of  the  hill,  but  they 
gradually  disappeared.  That  company  commanders 
were  alive  to  the  importance  of  knowing  each  other's 
positions  is  shown  by  Osmond  WilUams  halting  in  dead 
ground,  short  of  the  crest,  until  Dick  Bulkeley  ran  into 
him.  No.  3  Company,  however,  lost  touch  with  the 
Grenadiers,  who  apparently  swerved  away  to  the  left. 
Having  lost  touch  there  was  no  time  to  go  searching 
about  in  the  darkness.  Osmond  Williams  was  satisfied 
he  had  No.  2  behind  him,  but  in  any  case  he  would  have 
attacked  with  one  platoon. 

To  describe  the  exact  movements  of  each  company  is 
impossible — no  man  could  tell  of  the  movements  of  the 
other  platoons  of  his  own  company. 

Osmond  WilHams  advanced  and  the  three  companies 
were  swallowed  up  in  the  night. 

But  they  could  tell  they  had  reached  the  top  of  the  hill. 
A  star-light  went  up — one — one,  two,  three — six  of  them 
— a  dozen — twenty — a  little  ripple  of  fire — night  had 
given  way  to  a  blazing  patch  of  light  in  which  one  could 
see  holes,  unevenness  in  the  ground  which  showed  in 
hard  black  clumps  and  lines,  and  clear-cut  figures  with 
rifle  and  ghnting  bayonet  advancing  into  the  light,  run- 
ning forward  out  of  the  farther  darkness.  And  then  the 
little  ripple  of  rifle-fire  increased  in  an  excited  way,  and 
with  the  rattling  crash  of  machine  guns  pandemonium 

34  LOOS  [Chap.  Ill 

What  happened  ?  In  the  daylight  it  is  possible  to 
reconstruct  from  the  next  moment,  the  moment  one  was 
able  to  look  round  and  see  what  men  were  then  doing, 
but  at  night — — 

The  dead  knew  nothing.  The  wounded  knew  they 
were  hit.  The  unwounded  would  probably  first  realise 
that  they  were  lying  on  the  ground—  and  the  roar  of  the 
enemy  fire  never  ceased.  Copland  Griffiths  describes  a 
tornado,  a  monsoon,  something  fearful  in  the  nature  of 
a  storm  going  on  just  over  his  head  as  he  lay  flat  on  the 
ground,  and  a  bullet  ripped  him  straight  down  the  back 
so  that  he  tried  to  lie  flatter  yet. 

Such  a  situation  cannot  last  for  ever,  and  the  firing 
quieted  down.  Men  scraped  holes  where  they  were, 
or  rolled  into  shell-holes,  and  in  spite  of  a  constant 
fusillade,  with  an  occasional  burst  of  intense  fire,  officers 
began  to  crawl  about  endeavouring  to  clear  up  the  situa- 
tion and  collect  their  men. 

Some  sort  of  line  was  formed  and  companies  got  into 
touch  with  each  other. 

The  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  on  the  right  was  very 
scattered.  All  their  officers  had  been  hit — Osmond 
Williams  was  mortally  wounded  and  died  the  next  day, 
Mawby  and  Smith  were  killed,  Crawshay  and  Howard 
wounded.  The  men  were  hanging  on  under  any  sort  of 
cover.  No.  2  had  fared  better  in  officer  casualties, 
although  they  were  right  up  against  the  enemy.  Copland 
Griffiths  was  the  only  one  hit,  and  he  was  determined  to 
hang  on.  No.  3  was  on  the  left  and  slightly  behind  the 
other  companies,  but  Philipps  was  hit,  Randolph  and 
Sutton  killed.  Dick  Bulkeley  established  himself  behind 
the  bank  spoken  of  by  Menzies  and  sent  down  messages 
on  the  situation.  Palmer  came  up  the  hill  and  began 
to  talk  to  Bulkeley  about  the  gap  on  the  right  of  the 
line,  but  was  immediately  killed. 

Dick  Bulkeley  went  down  himself  to  consult  with  the 
Commanding  Officer.  He  could  only  summarise  the 
position  by  saying  it  was  damnable,  but  he  was  told  he 
must  try  and  dig  in  where  he  was,  and  half  the  battalion 
tools  were  sent  up  for  that  purpose  (the  other  half  had 

Sept.  1915]  THE  ATTACK  35 

been  blown  up).  When  lie  had  gone  Rhys  Williams  ap- 
peared, hit,  but  not  too  bad,  and  gave  what  information 
he  had.  The  doctor  (Picton  Phillips)  dressed  his  wound 
and  he  went  back  to  his  guns,  but  was  ordered  to  hospital 
later  on. 

A  message  was  sent  to  Claud  Insole  telling  him  Palmer 
was  killed,  but  he  was  to  take  No.  4  Company  and  carry 
out  the  order  given  to  Palmer. 

The  Commanding  Officer  was  now  quite  clear  that  the 
battalion  was  where  it  was  meant  to  go,  but  had  still 
cause  to  be  extremely  anxious,  as  they  were  by  no  means 
firmly  established  and  were  evidently  somewhat  disor- 
ganised— more  especially  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company, 
of  which  there  was  the  vaguest  news.  A  company  of  the 
4th  Pioneer  Battalion  Coldstream  Guards  had  reported 
to  help  in  the  consolidating,  but  he  held  them  back  until 
the  other  companies  of  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards 
arrived.  Eventually  Lieut. -Col.  Cator  came  and  said 
that  he  had  not  more  than  two  companies,  but  that  the 
remainder  of  the  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  had 
turned  up  and  were  being  sent  with  his  battalion  to  take 
over  from  the  Welsh  Guards. 

The  two  Commanding  Officers,  accompanied  by  Rupert 
Lewis,  who  had  been  retained  at  headquarters,  then  went 
to  look  over  the  ground,  and  Dene  was  sent  to  find  a 
place  for  the  battalion  when  they  were  relieved. 

On  inspection  it  was  considered  impossible  to  dig  in 
on  the  line  occupied,  then  a  mere  matter  of  shell-holes 
and  scrapes — but  a  little  further  back  there  was  an  old 
German  trench,  mostly  fallen  in,  and  the  relieving  troops 
with  the  Pioneer  Company  and  some  engineers  for  wiring 
were  sent  up  to  make  this  trench  secure.  When  Colonel 
Cator  was  satisfied  with  the  work  done  the  Welsh  Guards 
were  withdrawn,  though  a  few  remained  up  there  until 
October  1st. 

By  daybreak  on  the  28th  companies  began  to  reform 
in  some  trenches  south  of  Loos.  The  shelhng  of  the 
village  was  very  heavy  and  accompanied  by  a  lot  of  long- 
range  machine-gun  fire  and  sniping.  Rupert  Lewis,  who 
had  been  sent  to  command  the  remains  of  the  Prince  of 

36  LOOS  [Chap.  Ill 

Wales's  Company,  got  a  bullet  through  his  arm,  but 
remained  at  duty  (as  did  Copland  Griffiths).  Cookers 
came  up,  and  the  battalion  stayed  in  support  until 
7  p.m.  on  the  29th,  when  they  marched  back  to  Ver- 
melles,  and  on  the  30th  to  Sailly-Labourse. 

As  stated  in  the  original  order,  the  attack  on  Hill  70 
was  to  be  subsequent  to  the  success  of  the  2nd  Brigade. 
The  crest  of  the  hill  was  a  fearful  place  unless  the  Chalk 

2  3 

Position  at  Loos,  September  27th. 


Pit  and  Fosse  14,  on  the  left,  were  taken.  The  brigadier 
was  certainly  under  the  impression  that  this  had  been 
done  (at  one  time  the  2nd  Brigade  had  captured  both 
these  places,  but  were  unable  to  hold  Fosse  14),  and  when 
he  heard  that  the  Germans  still  held  Fosse  14  it  is  stated, 
on  good  authority,  that  he  commenced  to  write  cancelling 
his  orders  of  attack,  when  Col.  Murray-Threipland's 
message  to  the  effect  that  the  attack  had  been  launched 
was  handed  to  him. 

Sept.  1915]    OSMOND  WILLIAMS  AND  PALMER    37 

The  satisfaction  of  the  engagement,  from  the  Welsh 
Guards'  point  of  view,  lay  in  the  way  the  battalion  had 
behaved  and  the  fact  that  they  had  steadied  the  line. 
As  has  been  explained,  the  attack  was  in  the  dark,  and 
no  one  knew  where  the  enemy  was.  Sir  John  French, 
writing  of  the  previous  day's  action,  says  :  "  Reports 
regarding  this  portion  of  the  action  are  very  conflicting, 
and  it  is  not  possible  to  form  an  entirely  just  apprecia- 
tion of  what  occurred  in  this  part  of  the  field/'  What 
remained  of  the  15th  and  21st  Divisions  had  been  blown 
off  the  hill  and  down  the  slope,  and  so  far  as  the  battalion 
was  concerned  the  attack  started  from  the  moment  it 
came  over  the  rise  in  the  ground  approaching  Loos. 
The  greatest  credit  is  due  to  the  new  Welsh  soldiers  for 
their  steadiness  and  determination. 

Poor  Osmond' Williams  was  an  able  soldier  and  the 
impression  he  made  on  the  battalion  remains  to  this  day. 
And  he  was  a  gallant  gentleman.  He  was  first  gazetted 
to  the  15th  Hussars,  but  served  in  the  South  African  War 
\vith  the  19th  Royal  Hussars.  Owing  to  a  polo  accident, 
he  was  subsequently  invahded  out  of  the  army  in  1908. 
Being  refused  a  commission  on  the  outbreak  of  war  on 
the  ground  of  health  he  enlisted  in  the  Scots  Greys,  and, 
as  personal  orderly  to  Sir  Philip  Chetwode,  carried  the 
5th  Brigade  Flag  behind  him  throughout  the  retreat  and 
subsequent  advance  to  the  Aisne.  In  November  1914 
he  was  given  a  special  commission  by  Sir  John  French  as 
2/Lieut.  in  the  Scots  Greys.  In  a  dismounted  attack  at 
Wytschaete  he  killed  eleven  Germans  with  his  own  hand 
and  won  the  D.S.O.  It  is  a  fine  record  of  service  to  his 

Palmer,  who  was  the  senior  captain  and  acted  as  second 
in  command,  was  a  fanatical  fighter,  which  showed  itself 
in  his  face,  in  his  actions  and  boundless  energy,  in  his 
spoken  word  and  in  his  record.  In  private  life  he  was 
a  mining  engineer,  and  his  military  career  started  in  1899 
in  the  3rd  Battalion  East  Surrey  Regiment.  When  the 
South  African  War  broke  out  he  believed  that  his  Militia 
would  not  be  used,  and  resigned  his  commission  to  enlist 
as  a  trooper  in  the  34th  Company  of  the  Imperial  Yeo- 

38  LOOS  [Chap.  Ill 

manry.  Bald  official  record  shows  tliat  lie  was  given  a 
commission  in  Africa,  and  rose  to  command  this  same 
company,  winning  a  D.S.O.  and  being  twice  mentioned 
in  despatches.  At  the  end  of  that  war  he  joined  the 
South  African  Constabulary,  where  he  remained  until 
1907.  He  was  a  year  in  Zanzibar  reorganising  the  police, 
and  was  in  Rhodesia  when  war  was  declared  with  Ger- 
many. But  he  managed  to  be  at  the  first  battle  of  Ypres 
as  a  captain  attached  to  the  Royal  Horse  Guards.  His 
company.  No.  4,  or  what  is  left  of  it,  has  never  forgotten 
him,  and  his  photograph  will  be  found  in  several  houses 
in  Wales.  He  looked  after  the  bodily  comforts  of  his 
men  down  to  attending  to  their  blistered  feet  himself, 
but  when  one  of  them  bobbed  at  something  which 
whizzed  over  his  head  in  the  streets  of  Loos  Palmer 
sprang  at  him  and  shook  him  like  a  rat. 

Mawby,  Randolph,  Smith  and  Sutton  have  no  military 
record  from  which  a  paragraph  can  be  made,  but  their 
names  must  be  handed  down  amongst  those  of  the 
gallant  men  who  were  the  first  Welsh  Guardsmen  to  give 
their  lives  for  Great  Britain. 

Many  were  noted  for  outstanding  gallantry  in  per- 
forming their  duty.  Rhys  WilHams,  Rupert  Lewis  and 
Copland  Griffiths  carried  on  in  spite  of  wounds  of  a  pain- 
ful and  inconvenient  nature,  and  Drill-Sergt.  Bland,  in 
place  of  Sergt.-Major  Barnes,  who  was  sick,  led  the 
ammunition-waggons  and  tool-carts  through  intensive 
shelling  in  truly  dramatic  fashion.  The  action  of  Pte. 
Grant,  who  with  the  help  of  Cpl.  Hall,  4th  BattaUon 
Grenadier  Guards,  succeeded  in  getting  Osmond  Williams 
back  from  the  advanced  position  where  he  had  fallen, 
and  the  efforts  of  C.S.M.  Cossey,  L/Sergt.  F.  PhilKps,  and 
Pte.  M.  Jones  to  accomplish  the  same  thing  for  George 
Philipps,  though  acts  of  high  courage,  do  not  make  such 
good  stories  as  that  of  Ptes.  C.  H.  Witts,  S.  T.  Harvard, 
F.  Perry  and  W.  Bateman.  These  men  succeeded  in 
getting  very  close  to  the  enemy  line  in  the  charge  and 
jumped  into  a  hole  in  which  were  built  two  shelters.  In 
one  shelter  was  a  dead  German  officer  and  in  the  other 
two  live  German  soldiers.     They  could  not  get  back  for 

Oct.  1915]  VERMELLES  39 

three  days,  and  as  a  German  sap  from  the  main  enemy- 
line  was  only  a  few  yards  away,  and  was  occupied,  it  was 
not  quite  clear  to  them  whether  they  were  to  consider 
the  two  German  privates  their  prisoners  or  their  jailers. 
However,  they  did  get  away,  and  brought  the  two  Ger- 
mans with  them,  also  the  papers  from  the  dead  officer. 

On  October  2nd  the  first  draft,  104  N.C.O/s  and  men, 
arrived  from  England  under  Luxmoore  Ball,  a  gigantic 
ex-Welsh  Fusilier,  who  had  come  straight  from  the  suc- 
cessful South- West  African  campaign  and  was  burning 
to  fight.  The  short  time  he  had  spent  in  England  had 
been  mostly  in  the  orderly  room  asking  to  go  out  to 

The  rest  at  Sailly  la  Bourse  w^as  only  for  a  few  days, 
and  the  battle  was  still  going  on  round  about  Loos.  But 
during  this  rest  Sir  John  French,  Gen.  Haking  and  Lord 
Cavan  visited  the  various  brigades  and  complimented  all 
concerned  on  what  they  had  done — Sir  John  French's 
remark  to  the  assembled  commanding  officers  was,  "  Mag- 
nificent work,  gentlemen,  magnificent." 

On  October  3rd  the  battalion  marched  back  to  Ver- 
melles  and  relieved  the  9th  Battalion  Highland  Light 
Infantry  in  support  trenches  a  mile  east  of  the  village. 
Battalion  H.Q.  was  at  Notre  Dame  de  Consolation. 

The  Guards  Di\asion  was  now  operating  on  the  left  of 
the  great  battle  and  was  concerned  with  that  mass  of 
trenches  and  wire  and  machine  guns  called  the  Hohen- 
zollern  Redoubt.  This  place  was  thrust  forward  between 
the  Quarries  and  Fosse  8,  but  nearest  the  latter.  It  had 
been  taken  in  the  first  rush  on  September  25th,  together 
with  Fosse  8  and  the  Quarries.  But  on  September  27th 
the  Germans  succeeded  in  regaining  Fosse  8  and  the 
Quarries  and  nearly  the  whole  of  the  Hohenzollern  Re- 
doubt. The  85th  Brigade  (28th  Division),  under  Gen. 
Pereira,  restored  the  situation  as  regards  the  Redoubt 
(both  he  and  his  Brigade-Major  John  Flower  being 
wounded  in  the  fight) ;  but,  although  some  of  them  got 
on  to  Fosse  8,  they  could  not  hold  it. 

The  Hohenzollern  Redoubt,  dominated  by  Fosse  8, 
was  now  a  most  unpleasant  place.    It  was  part  of  the 


40  LOOS  [Chap.  Ill 

3rd  German  Line  whicli  included  Fosse  8,  so  that  British 
and  Germans  were  not  only  mthin  fifty  yards  of  each 
other,  but  connected  up  by  old  communication  trenches. 
Bombing  attacks  were  fierce  and  frequent.  By  October 
3rd  the  enemy  had  succeeded  in  getting  into  part  of  the 
Hohenzollern  Redoubt.  The  Guards  Division  then  took 
over  from  the  28th  Division. 

Much  work  was  done  by  the  battalion  while  in  support 
at  Notre  Dame  de  Consolation  connecting  up  the  old 
British  and  German  trenches.  They  went  back  to  rest 
in  Vermelles  on  the  night  of  the  5  th. 

The  billets  in  Vermelles  were  anything  but  comfort- 
able. The  gunners  with  their  cheering  weapons  were  all 
over  the  ruins,  and,  although  one  likes  to  hear  the  sound 
of  British  guns,  no  one  wants  to  lie  down  by  the  side  of 
them  to  rest.  The  Germans  had  a  naval  gun  which  fired 
armour-piercing  shells  with  what  seemed  a  retarded 
action,  and  they  searched  with  this  gun  for  the  British 
batteries  amongst  the  ruins.  This  went  on  all  day  and 
night,  and  there  were  a  good  few  casualties. 

There  were  several  other  reasons  why  Vermelles  was 
not  thought  much  of  by  the  battalion,  and  the  gas  fatigue 
was  one  of  them.  This  consisted  of  carrying  cylinders  of 
gas  up  to  the  front  line.  Gas  was  not  very  popular  at 
that  time,  a  feeling  due  no  doubt  to  the  many  casualties 
caused  by  our  own  gas  to  the  troops  on  September  25th. 
But,  in  any  case,  it  was  a  dangerous  fatigue.  Three 
parties,  of  184  men  each,  did  this  job  under  Bradney, 
Bulkeley  and  Roberts.  Dene  had  the  worst  part  of  the 
business,  having  to  direct  the  unloading  and  handing 
over  of  the  stutf  to  the  fatigue  parties  at  the  entrance 
of  the  communication  trench.  "  Bullets,"  he  said, 
'*  came  flipping  round  the  corner  pretty  frequently,  and 
if  one  of  them  had  punctured  a  heap  of  cylinders  there 
was  an  end  of  me." 

The  maze  of  trenches,  too,  which  led  up  to  and  round 
about  the  Hohenzollern  Redoubt  was  most  confusing, 
and  several  parties  got  lost  in  them.  It  is  not  pleasant 
to  be  lost  with  a  cylinder  of  gas  on  your  shoulder. 

On  October  8th  the  Germans  launched  a  big  attack 

Oct.  1915]        HOHENZOLLERN   REDOUBT  41 

stretching  from  the  Hohenzollern  Redoubt  to  Loos,  with 
a  special  effort  against  the  former.  But  the  situation 
was  "  well  in  hand/'  and  the  Welsh  Guards  were  not 
required  and  took  no  part  in  it.  As  regards  the  Une  held 
by  the  Guards  Division  Lord  Cavan  wrote  :  "  The  battle 
ended  in  the  complete  repulse  of  three  German  battalions 
by  handfuls  of  bombers  of  the  Guards  Division." 

The  night  of  the  12th  saw  the  battalion  back  in  billets 
at  Sailly  la  Bourse,  but  on  the  13th  it  was  hurried  into 
Lancashire  Trench,  on  the  north-east  of  Vermelles,  to  be 
in  reserve  to  a  fresh  attack  by  a  Line  Division  from  the 
Hohenzollern  Redoubt.  Humphrey  Dene  got  a  bit  of  a 
shell  through  the  leg,  and  Claud  Insole  took  over  No.  4 

The  fighting  was  very  severe.  The  confused  state  of 
affairs  may  be  gathered  from  the  orders  received  on  the 
14th,  which  were  that  the  3rd  Guards  Brigade  would 
take  over  the  front  line  held  by  two  brigades  of  the 
46th  Division,  but  when  the  1st  Battalion  Grenadiers 
and  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  arrived  they  found 
that  half  the  line  they  were  supposed  to  take  over  was 
in  the  hands  of  the  Germans. 

The  Welsh  Guards  did  not  move,  but  provided  heavy 
fatigues  digging  in  the  front  line  and  carrying  material. 

On  the  night  of  the  15th,  25  bombers  from  the  4th 
Battalion  Grenadier  and  25  from  the  Welsh  Guards  were 
rushed  up  under  Keith  Menzies  to  help  a  battalion  of 
the  Sherwood  Foresters  who  had  lost  all  their  bombers. 
This  party  did  well — ^being  supplied  with  bombs  night 
and  day  by  another  party  under  Luxmoore  Ball — and 
returned  on  the  night  of  the  16th. 

But  the  German  was  not  to  have  aU  the  say  in  the 
matter  of  attack.  The  Brigade  H.Q.  had  been  organising 
all  the  detonating  and  carrying  of  bombs,  but  this  work 
was  now  handed  over  to  the  Welsh  Guards  During  the 
day  the  men  detonated  9,000  bombs,  and  7,200  were 
carried  up  to  a  reserve  store  between  10.45  a.m.  and 
5.30  p.m.  ;  each  journey  took  one  and  a  half  hours,  and 
a  party  of  25  men  set  out  every  quarter  of  an  hour. 
Basil  Hambrough  was  looking  after  the  detonating  and 

42  LOOS  [Chap.  Ill 

was  sitting  in  a  cellar  with  Charles  Greville  (4th  Battalion 
Grenadier  Guards)  and  a  corporal  when  a  shell  hit  the 
house  and  penetrated  the  cellar.  The  corporal  was  killed 
(Daniels) — Hambrough  and  Charles  Greville  got  out. 
There  were  about  10,000  bombs  in  the  cellar  but  none 
of  them  went  of!. 

At  5  a.m.  on  the  18th  a  bombing  attack  by  the  1st 
Battalion  Grenadier  and  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards 
commenced  (in  conjunction  with  the  2nd  Brigade)  with 
the  idea  of  straightening  out  the  line.  The  Welsh  Guards 
H.Q.  and  No.  2  Company  bombers  went  forward  to  sup- 
port the  2nd  Scots  Guards.  Together  they  won  about 
160  yards  of  "  Big  WiUie.''  Sergt.  Wheatley,  one  of  the 
best  battaUon  bombers,  was  wounded  in  the  hand.  The 
battalion  was  again  thanked  by  Lieut.-Col.  Cator. 

Trenches  were  made  to  bring  the  part  of  Big  Willie 
which  had  been  gained  into  the  system  we  held,  and 
while  engaged  on  this  Claud  Insole  was  approached  by 
one  of  his  men  who  told  him  there  was  a  dead  man  in 
the  shallow  bit  of  trench  he  was  working  on.  Insole, 
who  knew  that  a  lot  of  the  men  had  a  dislike  of  handling 
dead  bodies,  told  him  abruptly  to  throw  this  one  out. 
He  then  overheard  the  following  conversation : 

"  You  heard  what  the  ofheer  said,  Dai — we  are  to 
throw  the  man  out." 

Inaudible  mumbles. 

*'  Come  on,  Dai — you  take  the  man's  legs  and  I  will 
take  his  shoulders.    Now  then.  .  .  .'' 

"Oh,  damn  !  lanto,  the  man  has  no  legs  !  What 
shall  we  do  ?  '' 

Inaudible  conversation. 

"  The  officer  said  so.  Come  on,  now,  take  hold  of  him 
anywhere  and  let  us  throw  him  out.'" 

Which  was  at  last  accomplished.  This  finer  feehng, 
which  was  very  prevalent  when  the  battalion  first  arrived 
in  France,  soon  disappeared. 

The  comparatively  safe,  if  not  comfortable,  Lancashire 
Trench  was  left  on  the  19th,  when  the  battalion  went  to 
Vermelles,  and  occupied,  for  the  most  part,  cellars.  The 
village  was  still  a  mark  for  German  gunners,  with  their 

Oct.  1915]       HOHENZOLLERN  REDOUBT  43 

infernal  armour-piercing  shells,  mixed  up  with  others,  so 
that,  although  they  were  called  rest  biUets,  it  was  prefer- 
able to  be  nearer  the  front  line.  During  the  four  ensuing 
days  casualties  crept  up.  But  another  draft  arrived  on 
the  20th.  Five  officers— Capt.  Aldridge,  Lieut.  Windsor 
Lewis,  Lieut.  Williams  Ellis,  2/Ijieut.  Crawford  Wood  and 
2/Lieut.  Dudley- Ward  straight  from  England — and  late 
in  the  evening  Capt.  AUen  with  fifty  men  from  the  base 
at  Havre. 

On  the  23rd  the  battalion  relieved  the  1st  Battalion 
Coldstream  Guards  in  the  Hohenzollern  Redoubt,  of 
which  the  following  account  was  written  at  the  time  : 

"  We  started  in  bright  moonlight — a  ghostly  business, 
especially  when  in  a  perfectly  flat  country  of  chalky  soil 
and  rank  grass,  dug  all  over  with  trenches  which  appear 
to  be  grey  banks  and  mounds  inhabited  by  men.  As  one 
walks  along  voices  come  from  the  ground,  and  lights  glint 
between  cracks  in  so-called  dugouts.  Now  and  then  you 
come  across  a  group  of  men  sitting  silent  on  one  of  these 
heaps  and  you  realise,  with  a  queer  feeling,  that  they  live 
inside  it.  We  arrived  at  a  hedge  where  there  was  an 
entrance  like  a  gateway  sloping  into  a  communication 
trench.  Then  in  single  file  we  started  what  seemed  an 
endless  twisting  and  turning  along  a  narrow  deep  ditch. 
Finally  we  came  to  troops  and  dugouts — this  was  the 
third  line,  they  said.  And  so  we  came  to  the  second,  and 
so  to  the  firing-line.  The  men  were  posted  without  too 
much  confusion,  relieving  the  Coldstream — and  then  fol- 
lowed a  long,  cold,  and  sleepless  night.  .  .  .  The  trenches 
are  good  and  bad  mixed.  We  hold  about  half  new  and 
half  old  German.  The  Hun  trench  stinks  and  has  lots 
of  Hun  bodies  built  into  the  parapet,  and  there  are  a 
good  many  of  our  dead,  men  who  took  the  place,  lying 
outside.  The  chief  method  of  warfare  is  bombs,  which 
we  hurl  at  each  other  all  night,  fortunately  with  small 
effect  so  far  as  we  are  concerned,  but  much  fearful  noise. 
It  seems  to  die  away  by  mutual  consent  about  four  in 
the  morning,  when  the  only  regular  sound  is  shelling  from 
our  guns.    My  job  is  chiefly  to  patrol  the  trench,  which 

44  LOOS  [Chap.  Ill 

I  seem  to  have  done  ceaselessly — I  have  also  inspected 
rifles.  .  .  .  When  the  early  morning  mist  had  cleared  I 
peered  at  the  German  trench  and  the  nasty  ground  in 
between  through  a  periscope.  The  position  is  very  odd, 
as  we  share  one  trench  with  the  Hun  and  others  face  all 
sorts  of  ways.  It  is  as  though  we  had  captured  part  of  a 
maze.  I  wonder  if  we  shall  get  the  other  part !  There 
is  at  least  some  truth  in  describing  the  noise  here  as 
continual  thunder. 

"  Oct.  25th. 

"  The  Hun  made  a  lively  bomb  display  last  night  after 
dark,  but  of  the  many  hundreds  they  threw  only  five  fell 
in  our  trench  and  wounded  two  men  shghtly.  They  were 
more  successful  in  other  ways.  Aldridge's  company  and 
some  Grenadiers  were  sent  out  last  night  digging  in  front 
with  the  object  of  straightening  our  line  and  bringing  it 
all  close  to  the  Hun.  The  Engineers  went  in  front  of  them 
to  put  up  wire  and  it  was  a  good  sight  to  see  the  Sappers 
work.  The  young  fellow  in  charge  led  them  down  the 
trench  and  '  hoiked '  a  few  sandbags  off  the  parapet  to 
make  a  step, up  which  they  all  w^ent  over  the  top,  strolling 
along  as  though  there  were  no  Huns  there  and  laying  out 
their  wire  as  calmly  as  though  they  were  demonstrating 
in  a  field.  When  they  had  nearly  finished  the  Huns  saw 
them  and  opened  fire  wildly.  But  they  went  on  until 
machine  guns  started  on  them  and  were  then  ordered 
back.  One  fellow  came  lounging  up  to  the  traverse 
where  I  was,  and,  instead  of  jumping  in  as  I  expected, 
leaned  over  the  sandbag  parapet  much  as  he  would  over 
a  bar  in  a  public-house.     He  jingled  coins  in  his  hand. 

*  That  b Fritz  out  there,'  said  he,  *  has  only  got 

tuppence  in  his  pocket.  Oh,  I  beg  pardon,  sir.'  And 
he  climbed  in  the  trench.  The  Sappers  lost  three  men. 
Aldridge  and  his  men  got  under  cover  and  were  able  to 
carry  on  till  four  this  morning.  Aldridge  no  casualties, 
Grenadiers  one."— Diary  of  C.  H.  D.  W. 

But  the  HohenzoUern  Redoubt  cannot  be  adequately 
described.    No.  2  Company  held  West  Face,  the  sides  of 

Oct.  1915]      HOHENZOLLERN  REDOUBT  45 

whicli  were  composed  of  dead  men,  equipment  and  a  little 
loose  earth.  A  brawny  tattooed  arm  was  found  to  belong 
to  a  Highlander  of  the  gaUant  New  Army,  but  most  of 
these  dead  were  Germans.  Outside  the  trench  were 
British  dead  on  either  side.  On  what  was  now  the  rear, 
formerly  the  German  front,  they  clustered  where  the 
wire  was  uncut,  and  there  was  a  nobility  in  the  positions 
of  these  men  which,  unless  it  has  been  seen,  cannot  be 

An  enormous  hand  stuck  out  of  the  bottom  of  the 
trench  at  one  place,  and  Dick  Bulkeley  was  curious  about 
it.  "I  wonder,''  said  he,  "  who  that  hand  belongs  to  ?  " 
and  tapped  it  with  his  stick.  He  had  a  portion  uncovered 
and  found  it  was  a  huge  officer  of  the  Prussian  Guard. 
Everyone  has  a  story  of  some  fearful  sight  in  the  Hohen- 
z oiler n  Redoubt. 

In  spite  of  the  heavy  rain  which  fell  on  the  night  24/25 
the  battalion  did  good  digging  work,  connecting  saps 
which  had  been  thrown  out.  But  soon  the  main  trench 
began  to  fall  in  and  their  efforts  had  to  be  confined  to 
clearing  it. 

The  justifiable  anxiety  of  the  higher  command  proved 
to  be  unfounded,  as  the  expected  German  attack  did  not 
develop  ;  indeed  it  was  thought  by  the  officers  of  the 
battalion  that  a  rehef  was  taking  place  in  the  enemy  lines. 
The  sniping  and  general  truculence  of  the  enemy  seemed 
to  die  do^\^l  and  it  required  rifle  grenades  to  stir  them  up. 

On  the  night  of  the  26th  the  trench  was  handed  over 
to  the  6th  Battalion  Queen's  and  the  battalion  marched 
to  Allouagne. 

The  relief  was  very  slow  and  difficult.  Men  could  not 
pass  each  other  in  the  trench,  and  companies  had  to  go 
out  the  same  way  as  the  Queen's  were  coming  in.  Men 
had  to  take  off  their  packs  and  squeeze  past  the  incoming 
troops.  The  way  out  was  very  long  and  wearisome, 
ankle  deep  in  clay  mud  which  went  "  chuck-chuck  "  as 
the  men  pulled  their  feet  out  of  it.  The  battalion  left  at 
6.30  p.m.  and  did  not  get  out  of  the  communication 
trench  tiU  about  9  p.m.  Companies  were  very  exhausted 
when  they  arrived  at  Bethune.    A  little  farther  on  some 

46  LOOS  [Chap.  Ill 

intelligent  person  had  posted  sentries  along  the  road  so 
that  battalions  might  not  iniss  the  way,  but  he  put  them 
on  the  wrong  road.  This  was  discovered  by  the  Com- 
manding Ofidcer,  who  sent  orderlies  to  try  and  stop  his 
companies.  The  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  was  warned 
and  sent  back  ;  the  others,  however,  went  on  and  even- 
tually arrived  at  their  correct  destination,  having  done 
five  miles  too  much.  "  The  last  four  miles  were  the 
devil.    We  arrived  at  4.30  a.m.'* 



Allouagne  was  a  scattered  \illage  in  a  corner  of  tim- 
bered country.  Tlie  leaves  were  just  beginning  to  turn 
and  rainy  days  were  making  the  sun  more  welcome  than 

The  companies  were  billeted  in  barns  of  farmhouses. 
There  was  a  sameness  about  these  farms  and  outbuild- 
ings, most  of  them  being  on  the  three  sides  of  a  square 
plan  with  a  pigeon-cot  on  a  pole  and  a  heap  of  evil  refuse 
in  the  centre.  The  sweet  smell  of  the  country  may  have 
been  there,  but  it  was  overpowered  by  the  penetrating 
odour  from  the  unclean  yards  and  sour  beetroot  puJp  on 
which  the  farmers  fed  their  cattle.  There  was  plenty  of 
straw,  however,  and  men  were  learning  that  this  is  a 
great  comfort ;  a  dry  barn  wdth  plenty  of  clean  straw 
to  lie  on,  two  blankets  and  a  waterproof  sheet  consti- 
tuted a  "  good  billet.'' 

Changes  and  reinforcements  to  companies  gave  the 
Prince  of  Wales's  to  Hugh  Allen,  with  Luxmoore  Ball, 
Crawford  Wood  and  Dudley  Ward.  No.  2  was  still  com- 
manded by  Dick  Bulkeley,  with  Bradney  and  Keith 
Menzies.  Herbert  Aldridge,  with  a  sHght  limp  and  a 
good-natured,  shrewd  face,  with  the  complexion  of  a 
dried  apple,  had  No.  3,  with  Windsor  Le^vis  and  Harry 
Rice.  For  the  moment  Claud  Insole  commanded  No.  4 
with  Wilhams  Ellis  (who  tried  to  learn  Welsh  and  was 
said  to  have  accompUshed  the  almost  impossible  feat  of 
marching  from  the  HohenzoUern  Redoubt  dressed]  in 
some  patent  armour  which  was  then  much  advertised  in 
the  daily  papers). 


48  ALLOUAGNE  [Chap.  IV 

Of  the  thirty  officers  who  had  left  England  with  the 
battalion  there  were  only  eleven  left.  To  the  casualties 
on  Hill  70  and  Vermelles  must  be  added  Fox-Pitt  and 
Hambrough  wounded  ;  Wethered,  Evan  Thomas  and 
M.  0.  Roberts  sick  ;  Gough  already  away  with  the 
machine  gunners  who  were  brigaded  and  eventually 
formed  into  a  corps  apart.  One  new  officer  arrived  at 
Allouagne,  Battye,  who  was  posted  to  No.  2  Company 
(The  dates  of  all  reinforcements  will  be  found  in  the 
chapter  dealing  with  the  2nd  Battalion.  The  posting  of 
officers  to  companies  is  not  easy  to  follow,  and  we  only 
propose  to  give  them  from  time  to  time  as  the  battalion 
went  into  action  ;  they  were  frequently  changed  or  lent 
by  one  company  to  another,  and  unless  an  incident  of 
note  occurred  we  will  not  weary  the  reader  with  a  record 
of  these  temporary  adjustments.) 

"  Jimjack  "  Evans  remained  at  headquarters  as  "  snip- 
ing ''  officer,  and  occupied  a  position  which  at  various 
times  was  called  "  Intelligence,''  "  Observation,''  and 
"Assistant  Adjutant."  Headquarters  always  required 
an  officer  other  than  the  Adjutant,  and  was  frequently 
the  biggest  company  of  the  battalion.  At  this  period 
there  were  not  only  snipers  on  headquarters,  but  thirty- 
four  bombers  as  well— in  fact,  the  bombing  craze  had 
gone  so  far  as  brigade  bombers. 

Headquarters  was  never  organised  as  a  company, 
although  there  were  many  who  advocated  that  step. 
With  drums,  transport,  signallers,  shops,  snipers,  bomb- 
ers, police  and  orderlies  posted  to  companies,  there  were 
a  number  of  men  a  company  commander  never  saw 
except  on  pay  day.  There  was  no  great  difficulty  in 
keeping  the  books,  but  it  led  to  minor  troubles  whenever 
there  was  a  sudden  dispersal  of  headquarters  to  their  own 
companies,  which  happened  quite  frequently.  The  prin- 
ciple of  a  company  was,  however,  conceded  by  the  ap- 
pointment of  an  acting  "  Headquarter  Quartermaster- 
Sergeant  "  wherever  the  billeting  arrangements  kept 
headquarters  together.  All  through  the  war  the  bat- 
talion seemed  to  gUde  imperceptibly  into  further  modifi- 
cations of  organisation. 

Oct.  1915]  ALLOUAGNE  49 

Allouagne  itself  is  not  an  interesting  place,  and  the 
country  round  does  not  seem  to  have  attracted  much. 
It  was  possible  to  go  to  Bethune,  but  it  was  not  a  popular 
excursion.  Otherwise  there  were  coal-pits — with  the 
accompanying  slag-heaps — and  closely  cultivated  coun- 
try. The  pits  possessed  baths,  which  the  battalion  was 
able  to  use  with  much  benefit  after  a  four-mile  walk. 
Practically  speaking  this  was  the  limit  of  exploration. 
But  Allouagne  seems  to  mark  a  definite  period  in  the 
history  of  the  Welsh  Guards.  The  battalion  had  fought 
its  first  fight  and  suffered  heavy  casualties.  Men  came 
out  somewhat  dazed.  The  game  was  new  to  them,  and 
the  comradeship  of  training  at  Esher  is  not  the  same  as 
the  comradeship  of  war.  They  required  a  readjustment 
of  ideas,  both  men  and  officers,  and  this  readjustment 
would  seem  to  have  started  at  Allouagne. 

The  battalion  was  well  trained  and  disciplined  when 
it  went  into  action,  but  such  discipline  is  not  second 
nature  (the  battalion  was  in  France  six  months  after  the 
Royal  Warrant  for  their  formation  was  signed) ,  and  the 
few  days,  we  may  call  it  weeks,  of  fighting  had  confused 

The  tendency  amongst  all  troops  in  war  is  to  get  dirty 
and  slovenly.  A  battle  is  a  dirty  business — you  cannot 
shave,  you  cannot  wash,  you  cannot  clean  your  clothes, 
and  you  feed  under  conditions  which  are  scarcely  decent. 
Men  come  out  of  battle,  and  more  especially  their  first 
battle,  tired  with  a  sort  of  nerve  fatigue  which  brings 
lassitude,  an  inclination  to  remain  dirty  and  live  in  an 
unclean  manner  long  after  their  muscles  have  ceased  to 
ache  and  their  stiffness  has  worn  off.  Experience  shows 
that  the  only  way  to  combat  this  evil  is  to  establish  rules 
and  insist  on  their  observance,  whatever  may  chance. 
This  lesson  was  speedily  recognised  at  Allouagne.  Some 
things  deemed  impossible  can  be  done,  and  others  which 
would  appear  simple  have  to  be  modified.  When  once 
digested,  however,  the  experience  becomes  part  of  the 
life  of  the  battalion,  breeds  a  kind  of  instinct  in  those 
who  follow,  and  the  principle  is  not  forgotten. 
New  and  old,  both  ideas  and  men,  became  merged. 

50  ALLOUAGNE  [Chap.  IV 

*'  You  liave  no  traditions/'  said  a  Grenadier,  "  no 
past  \  "  It  might  have  been  true  at  Esher  or  at  Arques, 
but  the  foundation  of  a  big  and  glorious  hall  of  fame  was 
laid  at  Loos,  and  building  commenced  at  Allouagne.  It 
was  a  true  regimental  feeling.  They  had  done  something, 
they  had  a  record. 

The  minds  of  men  are  governed  and  led  by  trivial 
matters.  The  big  thing  was  that  the  Welsh  Guards  had 
been  true  as  Welshmen  to  the  fighting  traditions  of  their 
race,  but  the  fine  reputation  of  a  regiment  may  be  lost 
to  the  public  by  a  sparkling  epigram  levelled  at  a  dull 
brass  button. 

The  Welshman  is  not  slow,  and  rose  to  the  occasion. 
A  precedent  was  estabUshed  and  will  be  carried  on. 

Probably,  too,  though  no  one  reaHsed  it  at  the  time, 
Allouagne  marked  the  birth  of  the  regimental  soul,  that 
fusion  of  the  living  and  the  dead  which  the  new  ensign 
describes  when  he  speaks  with  pride  of  "  The  Regiment.'* 

Leave  was  granted  from  Allouagne.  The  Commanding 
Officer  went  to  Paris,  Dick  Bulkeley,  Perrins  and  others 
went  to  England  for  seven  days.  Herbert  Aldridge  acted 
for  the  Commanding  Officer,  and  Windsor  Lewis  for 
Perrins.  A  quiet,  conscientious  fellow  was  Windsor 
Lewis,  and  with  a  sense  of  humour.  He  had  been  through 
the  South  African  War  and  was  a  thorough  soldier. 

Copland  Griffiths  and  Rupert  Lewis  rejoined  from  hos- 
pital, and  for  ever  after  each  accused  the  other  of  having 
been  too  warUke  while  in  hospital  and  ruined  every 
chance  of  a  few  weeks'  leave  at  home.  Rupert  Lewis 
took  command  of  No.  4  and  Griffiths  went  back  to  No.  2. 
An  unhappy  accident  occurred  to  His  Majesty  the  King, 
who  was  in  France,  the  day  after  the  battalion  arrived  in 
this  village.  His  horse  fell  with  him,  but  fortunately  he 
suffered  no  permanent  injury,  although  badly  bruised. 
It  was  doubly  unhappy  because  he  was  to  have  inspected 
the  division,  and  the  opportunity  never  occurred  again. 

On  November  9th  the  3rd  Brigade  marched  to  billets 
around  Merville.  Nigel  Newall  joined  the  battalion  the 
same  day  with  eighty  men.  He  had  been  in  France 
before  with  the  H.A.C.,  but  declared  that  he  was  glad 

Nov.  1915]  LAVENTIE  51 

to  get  back,  as  lie  had  been  bored  to  death  with  the 
Tower,  where  the  Reserve  Battalion  was  now  stationed. 
He  was  an  exceedingly  keen  young  ofiicer,  with  a  most 
happy  disposition. 

On  the  14th  the  3rd  Brigade  marched  to  billets  near 

Laventie  is  in  the  middle  of  a  very  flat  country.  La 
Gorgue  and  the  river  Lys  are  to  the  west  of  it.  In  ordi- 
nary times  this  low-lying  country  is  drained  by  means 
of  dykes  and  ditches,  but  even  so  the  ground  in  the  rainy 
season  would  be  sodden.  The  line  the  division  was  re- 
sponsible for  was  about  two  miles  north  of  Neuve 
Chapelle.  The  village  of  Aubers  and  the  celebrated 
Aubers  Ridge  were  in  front  of  it,  and  looked  down  on  the 
swampy  ground  where  the  British  were  entrenched. 

Claud  Insole,  who  had  been  driving  an  ambulance  at 
the  outbreak  of  war,  had  been  up  into  Aubers  and  had 
seen  the  open  fighting  which  took  place  before  the  line 
settled  down.  He  used  to  describe  how  little  scattered 
bodies  of  troops  tried  to  hold  up  the  Germans,  who  out- 
numbered them  three  to  one.  This  front  was  also  the 
scene  of  the  IV  Corps  (Rawlinson)  effort  on  May  9th, 
1915,  part  of  the  battle  of  Festubert ;  and  during  the 
battle  of  Loos,  Indian  troops  (Meerut  Division)  made  a 
demonstration  and  did  well,  but  had  no  reserves  to 
maintain  their  advantage. 

The  first  billets  occupied  were  the  scattered  farms 
round  about  Pont  du  Hem  to  the  south  of  Laventie. 

On  the  15th  company  commanders  went  to  the  line  to 
spy  out  the  nakedness  of  the  land.  They  proceeded 
straight  up  from  the  road  which  led  to  Aubers,  and, 
arriving  at  the  cross  roads  at  Fauquissart,  found  the 
"trenches"  just  in  front  of  them.  They  were  not 
trenches  but  breastworks,  and  lay  about  150  yards  east 
of  the  road  which  runs  from  Neuve  Chapelle  to  Fleurbaix, 
and  at  the  very  bottom  of  the  Aubers  Ridge.  As  was 
inevitable  in  such  a  position,  great  ponds  and  lakes  had 
formed  at  some  places  in  the  natural  depressions  of  the 
ground,  at  others  where  soil  had  been  removed  for  build- 
ing up  the  defences.     The  line  had,  however,  the  great 

52  LAVENTIE  [Chap.  IV 

advantage  of  being  open  at  the  back,  and  so  afforded, 
in  spite  of  the  accumulated  water,  plenty  of  room  to 
move  about  in. 

Behind  the  line  was  a  series  of  forts,  all  on  the  breast- 
work plan,  and  there  was  a  system  of  trolley  railways 
running  up  to  the  back  of  this  second  defence. 

The  enemy,  who  were  not  aggressive,  were  at  varying 
distances  between  150  and  300  yards  away. 

The  church  at  Fauquissart  held  out  bravely  against 
the  assaults  of  the  German  artillery — the  back  wall,  and 
a  few  remnants  of  the  others,  remained  trying  to  hold  up 
portions  of  the  roof,  which  hung  in  disreputable  festoons. 

It  was  decided  that  the  tour  of  duty  would  be  two  days 
in  the  front  line,  two  days  in  support — support  troops 
being  billeted  in  the  farms  and  at  a  later  period  in  the 
town  of  Laventie — and  after  twelve  days  of  this  exchange 
the  whole  brigade  would  go  back  to  La  Gorgue  in  reserve. 

On  the  night  of  the  16th  the  battalion  relieved  the  2nd 
Battalion  Scots  Guards  in  the  line.  It  was  held  in  a 
series  of  posts,  some  of  them  being  a  considerable  dis- 
tance apart.  At  night  each  post  found  double  sentries, 
while  the  rest  could  sleep  in  the  shelters,  which  were 
small  dog-kennel  arrangements  built  of  mud-filled  sand- 
bags and  roofed  over  with  bits  of  tin  on  which  earth  was 
piled.  As  shelters  against  anything  but  the  mildest  sort 
of  weather  these  concoctions  of  tin  and  sandbags  were 
absolutely  useless,  but  the  distance  from  the  enemy, 
combined  with  his  unenterprising  disposition,  permitted 
the  use  of  fires  to  an  extent  never  again  encountered  by 
the  battalion.  Not  only  did  each  shelter  have  its  brazier, 
but  the  company  cooks  prepared  and  served  hot  dinners 
and  teas  in  the  line,  frequently  raising  by  their  efforts 
clouds  of  smoke  in  the  daytime  and  a  blaze  of  light  at 

The  work  in  this  line  was  one  long  struggle  against 
water,  and  the  Welsh  Guards  spent  weeks  making 
water  run  uphill  by  "  swishing  "  it  along  from  one  to 
another  with  spades. 

The  first  few  days  in  the  line  were  very  cold  and  the 
nights  frosty.     The  enemy  knew  at  once  that  a  relief  and 

Nov.  1915]  STATE   OF  THE   LINE  53 

change  of  troops  had  taken  place.  From  the  top  of 
Aubers  Ridge  they  could  not  fail  to  note  unusual  move- 
ment and  draw  their  own  conclusions.  In  the  still  frosty 
night  a  hail  was  heard — ''  0-o-oh,  Tom-ee  !  Who  are 
you  ?  Who  are  you,  Tom-ee  ?  "  This  went  on  for  some 
time,  when  suddenly  a  high,  W^elsh  voice  repUed,  "  Come 
over  here,  Fritz,  and  I  will  tell  you."  But  Fritz  went  on 
with  his  "  0-o-oh,  Tomee-ee  !  Who  are  you  ?  "  and 
then  the  Welsh  voice—"  You  — ,  — ,  — /'  Bang,  bang, 
bang,  when  words  failed  to  express  his  opinion  of 

But  the  frost  did  not  hold,  and  the  only  thing  which 
seemed  consistent  was  the  wet.  It  snowed—  and  thawed. 
Sometimes  the  ponds  were  covered  with  ice,  but  it  soon 
melted.  There  was  one  tour  in  the  line  when,  as  Claud 
Insole  said,  mth  his  gentle  voice  and  inability  to  pro- 
nounce the  letter  R,  "It  was  so  cold  I  could  have 
scweamed  with  pain."  He  and  Rupert  Lewis  took  a 
brazier  into  their  little  mud  hut  and  kept  it  there  until 
the  smoke  got  so  bad  they  had  to  put  their  faces  near 
the  ground  to  breathe.  Claud  Insole  wrapped  himself 
up  with  fleece  linings  and  mufflers,  and  was  well  served 
in  this  respect  by  his  servant  Jones,  an  old  soldier  and 
one  of  the  best,  who  used  to  bring  prodigious  quantities 
of  clothes  into  the  trench.  Rupert  Lewis  had  a  wonder- 
ful mackintosh  cape,  not  issued  by  the  Ordnance  but 
bought  somewhere  in  Cardiff,  and  with  this  thing  cover- 
ing two  or  three  overcoats,  his  little  figure  bent  nearly 
double  under  the  weight,  gum-boots  reaching  up  to  his 
waist,  a  shapeless  cap,  large,  black-rimmed  glasses,  and 
large  fingerless  gloves,  he  looked  like  a  little  old  witch. 
His  physique  was  against  him,  but  he  resisted  the  con- 
ditions gallantly,  as  did  Claud  Insole,  who  was  not  of  the 

In  a  totally  different  fashion  the  huge  Luxmoore  Ball 
suffered  from  the  cold  and  wet.  After  years  in  the  West 
Indies  and  Rhodesia,  to  be  plunged  into  a  winter  in 
Northern  France  is  severe  treatment.  He  got  nasty 
doses  of  malaria. 

Herbert  Aldridge,  another  little  man,  had  been  a  life- 

54  LAVENTIE  [Chap.  IV 

long  sufferer  from  bronchitis,  and  had  to  fight  this  enemy 
as  well  as  Germans. 

No  one  knew  if  Dick  Bulkeley  suffered  or  not— he 
never  said  so.  But  he  got  a  little  bit  of  shell  in  his  leg 
which,  to  a  strong  man,  would  have  been  nothing — it 
gave  him  a  lot  of  trouble. 

As  has  been  explained,  the  system  of  defence  consisted 
of  the  front  line,  held  by  three  companies,  and  a  series 
of  strong  points  behind.  The  best  place  to  be  in  was 
undoubtedly  the  headquarters  of  the  company  manning 
the  strong  points.  You  lived  in  a  deserted  farmhouse, 
which  was  at  least  weatherproof  and  enabled  you  to  have 
a  fire,  and  your  duties  included  an  inspection  of  the 
various  posts  held  by  your  platoons.  There  was  a  nice 
walk  from  Wangerie  down  the  Rue  de  Bacquerot  and 
Rue  Masselot  to  Felon's  Post  in  Drury  Lane,  and  the  best 
way  from  there  to  Fauquissart  Post  was  via  the  front 
line,  where  of  course  you  would  stop  for  a  moment  to 
see  Herbert  Aldridge.  Perhaps  Harry  Rice  would  be  in 
the  headquarter  dugout — his  youth  concealed  beneath  a 
bald  head  and  a  most  impressive  manner — busily  en- 
gaged cutting  out  the  pictures  of  prominent  politicians 
from  the  Sketch  or  the  Tatler,  and  French  ladies  from 
very  French  papers  like  the  Vie  Parisienne,  and  pasting 
them  on  the  walls  of  the  dugout,  so  that  Mr.  Balfour 
gazed  with  surprise  at  an  undressed  lady  apparently 
trying  to  embrace  Mr.  Bonar  Law,  and  Mr.  Winston 
Churchill  addressed  a  suffragette  meeting — and  this  re- 
quired many  newspapers — Mr.  Churchill  in  bathing-suit 
and  quaint  hat  and  the  suffragettes  arrayed  in  all  those 
advertisements  which  one  sees  in  the  fashion  pages  of 
expensive  periodicals. 

Or  Windsor  Lewis  would  be  there  to  discuss  the 

"  I  don't  like  this  war — h'm,  no.  So  wet  and  cold — 
h'm,  frightfully  cold — h'm,  yes."' 

Perhaps  you  would  hear  him  and  Herbert  Aldridge 
discuss  company  matters,  and  you  would  realise  that 
they  not  only  knew  every  man,  but  his  private  affairs  and 
the  condition  of  his  family  as  well,  and  then  you  would 

Nov.  1915]  THE  LINE  55 

begin  to  understand  how  it  was  the  men  loved  both  of 

Young  Leigh  Pemberton,  a  Grenadier  machine  gunner, 
might  drop  in  to  this  dugout  for  tea  and  keep  every  one 
laughing,  and  startle  you  with  some  such  question  as 
"  Do  you  speak  Boche  1  " 

With  plenty  of  time  the  journey  could  be  prolonged, 
and  from  Keith  Menzies  information  could  be  got  of 
every  unit  mthin  ten  miles  or  so,  Keith  Menzies  had  a 
wonderful  faculty  for  picking  up  this  sort  of  information. 
He  was,  or  affected  to  be,  very  short-sighted,  and  when 
he  looked  at  anything  more  than  fifty  yards  away  would 
put  his  hand  up  to  his  right  eye  and  pull  the  lids  of  the 
eye  sideways — like  an  exaggerated  Chinese  eye  But  he 
noted  every  regimental  badge  that  passed  him  and  ques- 
tioned men  freely. 

Percy  Battye  would  talk  of  his  future  plans,  social, 
military,  commercial  or  sporting. 

Dick  Bulkeley  would  expound  any  subject, 

Allen  would  be  hospitable,  and  Luxmoore  Ball  remi- 
niscent of  West  Indian  life  or  enthusiastic  about  South 
Africa.  Young  Crawford  Wood  would  want  you  to  go 

The  way  back  lay  through  Fauquissart,  where  a  visit 
might  be  paid  to  the  gunners  in  the  "  Lounge  " — a  house 
filled  \\ith  sandbags  all  but  one  small  room,  at  the  back, 
but  in  the  end  the  German  guns  pounded  it  to  pieces — 
and  Road  Bend,  another  post  situated  where  the  name 
^  Of  course  there  was  another  sector  with  other  forts, 
Eglise,  Elgin,  Erith,  Grant's  Post,  Dreadnought,  and 
farther  back  still,  w^hen  the  battalion  was  in  support, 
Esquin,  Epinette,  la  Flinque,  And  there  was  a  rearrange- 
ment of  the  line  which  brought  in  Hougoumont  and 
Masselot.  But  two  or  three  people  could  always  walk 
about  at  Laventie  ;  in  fact,  at  times  there  were  so  many 
little  parties  that  they  formed  a  stream  of  pedestrian 

After  twelve  days  in  the  forward  area  the  brigade  went 
back  to  La  Gorgue,  a  well-populated  town  wdth  a  number 


66  LAVENTIE  [Chap.  IV 

of  work-girls  employed  in  normal  times  in  the  making  of 
canvas.  The  Germans  had  occupied  the  place  in  their 
first  advance  and  extracted  fines.  The  billets  were  poor, 
but  the  people  were  hospitable. 

An  ante-room  was  established  in  one  of  the  larger 
houses,  but  the  mess  was  in  another  place — a  long,  narrow 
kind  of  passage-room  with  tiled  floor,  and  no  more  recom- 
mendation than  that  it  was  big  enough  for  all  require- 
ments. Keith  Menzies,  \vith  the  aid  of  Sergt.  Marshall, 
still  ran  the  messing,  making  local  purchases  of  eggs  and 
tinned  stuff  which,  when  the  battalion  was  in  the  line, 
were  equally  divided  between  headquarters  and  com- 
panies. But  the  neighbouring  town  of  Estaire  provided 
attraction  in  the  shape  of  a  dining-place  run  by  some 
women,  and  there  were  generally  two  or  three  absentees 
from  the  battalion  mess. 

Lord  Cavan  lectured  officers  of  the  division  on  staff 
work,  but  even  that  strenuous  warrior  could  not  make 
the  subject  attractive — the  lecture  has  been  described 
as  dull. 

La  Gorgue  saw  the  beginning  of  the  divisional  club. 
It  was  started  by  Sydney  Jones,  the  Nonconformist 
minister.  He  secured  a  large  shed  and  gave  a  general 
invitation  to  all  ranks  to  attend.  His  ideas  were  vague, 
but  he  was  searching  for  something  which  would  be  of  use 
to  the  private  soldier.  This  first  meeting  was  an  enter- 
tainment for  school-children  rather  than  an  evening's 
amusement  for  men,  and  the  very  few  who  had  attended 
were  called  upon  to  perform  in  a  series  of  parlour  sports 
such  as  "  hunt  the  slipper  "  and  racing  cardboard  frogs 
across  the  floor.  It  was  a  cold,  cheerless  evening.  But 
Sydney  Jones  would  not  be  beat.  He  would  have  other 
evenings  and  provide  refreshment !  He  had  the  art  of 
begging  at  his  finger-tips,  and  was  persistent  in  pushing 
forward  ideas  good  and  bad — the  bad  could  always  be 
dropped.  At  all  events,  a  large  organisation  grew  up 
slowly,  supported  by  a  canteen,  which  gave  the  men 
amusements  and  many  comfortS' — and  the  officers  too. 

Officers  who  arrived  in  December  were  Capt.  Gilead 
Smith,  Lieut.  Lord  Newborough,  2/Lieuts.  Jack  Craw- 

Dec.  1915]  NEW  OFFICERS  57 

shay,  Arthur  Gibbs,  Charles  Dodd,  Stephen  Stokes, 
Maurice  de  Wiart,  Pugh,  and  Lieut.  Lord  Clive.  Clive, 
Arthur  Gibbs  and  de  Wiart  went  to  the  Prince  of  Wales'a 
Company,  Jack  Crawshay  to  No.  2,  Newborough  and 
Pugh  to  No.  3,  Dodd  and  Stokes  to  No.  4. 

Newborough  was  a  big,  dark  man  with  a  gentle  voice 
and  manner.  So  long  as  he  had  plenty  of  cigarettes, 
which  he  smoked  through  a  beautifully  coloured  meer- 
schaum holder,  he  was,  if  not  happy,  at  least  filled  with 
smoke  and  philosophic  resignation. 

"  I  shall  never  forget  old  Newborough's  first  experience 
of  the  line,''  said  Copland  Griffiths.  **  I  found  him  in 
Elgin  Fort,  where  he  had  gone  with  an  advance  party. 
The  dugout  was  filled  with  water,  and  only  a  sandbag 
table  rose  like  an  island  from  the  centre  of  it.  Sitting 
on  the  table  was  Newborough,  his  feet  in  the  water,  a 
cigarette  in  his  mouth,  and  over  him  an  air  of  complete 
resignation,  as  though  he  was  saying,  "  This  is  my  home 
for  two  days,  and  it  can't  be  helped." 

What  he  liked  was  to  sit  quietly  by  a  fire  and  yarn 
about  old  times — the  men  in  the  old  Raleigh  Club,  his 
adventures  in  his  yacht  Fedora  at  Fiji  and  Singapore, 
and  discuss  the  habits  of  the  Chinese. 

Clive  was  a  keen  soldier ;  it  was  the  only  thing  which 
seemed  to  interest  him  in  life.  He  loved  parades  and 
was  a  strict  disciplinarian — woe  to  the  man  who  appeared 
before  him  with  a  button  undone  or  loose  equipment ; 
and  yet  he  himself  was  a  most  untidy  fellow.  True,  he 
had  not  a  smart  figure,  but  his  clothes  either  could  not 
or  would  not  fit. 

Jack  Crawshay  was  a  wise  young  man  with  the  inno- 
cent, pink-complexioned  face  of  a  child.  Arthur  Gibbs 
a  dark,  solid,  round-faced,  full-lipped,  bespectacled  and 
competent  officer,  still  very  young.  Stephen  Stokes 
loved  gardening,  Charles  Dodd  could  translate  Greek  like 
a  professor  and  roll  his  R's  like  a  Russian.  Pugh  knew 
something  about  the  Lewis  Gun,  and  de  Wiart  had  a 
sense  of  humour.  Gilead  Smith  was  a  painstaking  soldier 
from  the  East  Kent  Regiment,  and  took  command  of 
No.  2  Company,  Dick  Bulkeley  being  sick. 

58  LAVENTIE  [Chap.  IV 

Slightly  before  the  advent  of  these  officers  came  Rose 
Price,  a  tall,  good-looking  Indian  cavalryman,  as  second 
in  command. 

Life  was  very  cheery  at  La  Gorgue.  There  were  con- 
certs— public  ones  in  which  Dick  Bulkeley  told  some 
Welsh  stories  and  Dabell  sang  "  KiUaloe  "  ! — and  private 
ones  with  Crawford  Wood  and  Nigel  Newall  making  a 
fiendish  row  singing  duets.  The  most  entertaining  event 
of  all  was  a  boxing  competition  (January  10th),  in  which 
Thomas,  cook  of  No.  4  Company,  lost  a  fight  but  gained 
much  renown. 

The  scattered  support  billets  were  changed  on  Decem- 
ber 20th,  the  battalion  going  to  the  town  of  Laventie 
itself.  A  battalion  mess  was  procured  here  for  some  time, 
and  billets  were  very  comfortable.  There  were  even  a 
few  shops  still  open  for  trade.  It  was  not  shelled  very 
often,  but,  considering  it  was  well  within  field-gun  range, 
the  tenacity  of  the  inhabitants  was  remarkable. 

In  the  line  there  were  rumours  of  battle,  for  news  of 
what  was  said  at  conferences  always  trickled  out  by 
degrees  and  with  many  inaccuracies. 

There  was  a  scheme  for  the  2nd  and  3rd  Brigades  to 
make  a  combined  raid.  Gas  was  to  be  let  off  for  forty- 
five  minutes,  and  after  a  five  minutes'  interval  parties 
were  to  go  over  as  far  as  the  enemy  second  line,  do  as 
much  damage  as  possible,  and  return  with  what  they 
could  carry  or  drive  in  front  of  them.  For  the  3rd  Brigade 
it  was  settled  that  the  Welsh  Guards  would  do  this. 
During  the  discussion  of  the  scheme  the  Commanding 
Officer  put  in  an  objection  to  doing  the  attack  with  gas 
and  at  night.  It  would  be,  he  said,  impossible  to  see  or 
hear  while  wearing  the  gas-bag,  and  the  gas  expert  de- 
clared it  would  not  be  safe  to  enter  the  German  lines 
without  these  bags  on.  The  discussion  continued,  how- 
ever, for  some  days.  Details  were  arranged  down  to  the 
carrying  of  red  electric  lights,  and  parties  were  selected, 
in  all  sixty-eight  men.  Then  the  scheme  was  altered  to 
each  brigade  doing  a  raid  by  itself. 

Patrols  became  very  active.  Luxmoore  Ball,  J.  J. 
Evans,  Crawford  Wood,  and  Cpl.  Bowles,  the  sniper, 

Dec.  1915]  PROPOSED  RAIDS  59 

went  over  to  the  enemy  line  and  threw  messages  over  the 
parapet  inviting  them  to  give  themselves  up  and  come 
out  of  the  wet !     It  had  no  result. 

Amongst  others  Rupert  Lewis  had  an  amusing  adven- 
ture. Jimjack  Evans  sent  out  a  patrol  of  his  snipers 
(Sergt.  Bonar  and  two  men)  to  cut  German  wire.  A 
patrol  also  went  out  from  No.  4  Company,  knowing 
nothing  about  the  Evans  party,  but  when  information 
of  it  was  given  him,  Rupert  Lewis  and  Broadwood,  a 
Scots  Guards  machine-gun  officer,  went  out  to  get  the 
No.  4  patrol  back.  When  they  got  near  the  German  wire 
they  saw  what  they  supposed  was  four  men  coming 
towards  them  and  began  to  move  "  home."  The  strange 
patrol  followed,  and  Lewis  and  Broadwood  began  to 
run — so  did  the  patrol.  The  sentries  challenged  and  both 
pursued  and  pursuers  replied.  It  was  then  discovered 
that  Rupert  had  been  chased  back  by  his  own  men. 

A  raid  was  arranged  eventually  (December  27th),  and 
Jimjack  Evans,  with  Sergt.  Gibbs,  Sergt.  Bonar,  Cpl. 
Bartlett  and  Pte.  Tanner,  started  to  cut  a  way  through 
the  German  wire.  When  they  got  up  to  the  last  strands, 
however,  a  sentry  sent  up  a  flare  and  they  were  seen. 
Bullets  and  bombs  began  to  whistle  through  the  air,  and 
they  had  to  go  back.  No  further  raid  was  possible  that 

Another  raid  was  contemplated  with  a  Bangalore 
Torpedo,  an  arrangement  to  blow  up  the  mre  ;  but  an 
engineer  went  out  to  look  at  the  enemy  wire,  got  lost, 
was  captured,  and  so  it  was  thought  best  to  abandon 
the  scheme. 

While  at  Laventie  Lord  Cavan  left  the  division  to  take 
command  of  the  XIV  Corps,  Gen.  Feilding  taking  com- 
mand of  the  Guards  Division  and  Gen.  JefTreys  of  the 
1st  Brigade. 

It  is  of  interest  to  note  that  the  Propping  Company  of 
100  men  (25  from  each  battalion)  was  started  at  Laventie. 
Percy  Battye  was  given  command,  and  his  business  was 
to  work  every  night  at  strengthening  the  defences.  The 
idea  ensured  continuity  of  work  and  plan  and  was  very 

60  LAVENTIE  [Chap.  IV 

Casualties  were  not  heavy,  and  only  one  officer,  Nigel 
Newall,  was  hit.  Hugh  Allen  went  back  to  England  sick, 
also  Rupert  Lewis ;  and  Dick  Bulkeley  had  to  give  up 
active  campaigning  and  go  to  the  base  at  Havre. 

On  February  15th  the  battalion  marched  back  to 
Estaires,  and  on  the  16th  entrained  at  Lestrem  for  Calais. 

The  Laventie  line  was  quiet  and  uneventful.  Towards 
the  end  of  January  the  artillery  succeeded  in  stirring  the 
enemy  up,  and  there  were  occasions  when  his  retaliation 
became  warm.  Topping,  an  excellent  gunner,  who  was 
frequently  behind  the  battalion  with  his  battery,  was 
shelled  out  of  several  positions,  and  the  German  gunner 
sometimes  turned  his  attention  to  the  forts  ;  but,  on  the 
whole,  the  enemy  confined  his  shelling  for  the  most  part 
to  cross-roads  and  left  the  front  line  alone. 

Some  new  formations,  Welsh  Fusiliers,  a  Scotch 
"  Bantam "  Battalion  and  some  Yeomanry  received 
instruction  in  trench  duties  from  the  battalion.  Laventie 
was  not  a  bad  bit  of  the  line. 



It  was  said  that  the  health  of  the  troops  had  been  so 
much  considered  that  a  trip  to  the  sea  had  been  ar- 
ranged for  them.  Be  this  as  it  may,  the  troops 
enjoyed  their  stay  at  Calais.  It  was  frightfully  cold- 
it  snowed — it  froze — it  snowed  again,  but  there  was 
a  live  town,  with  shops  having  something  to  sell, 
with  restaurants  having  something  to  eat  and  drinli, 
and  with  well-dressed,  decent-looking  women  every- 

The  battalion  was  under  canvas,  but  no  one  minded 
except  Luxmoore  Ball  and  Herbert  Aldridge,  who  could 
not  stand  it  and  went  into  houses.  But  when  free  from 
duty  all  men  met  in  Calais,  and  mostly  dined  there  every 

There  was,  however,  a  great  concentration  of  effort  on 
bombing  practice,  a  passion  which  lasted  a  long  time. 
There  had  been  some  good  bombing  raids  done  by  the 
Canadians,  and  of  course  the  bombing  of  the  Hohen- 
zollern  Redoubt  was  fresh  in  the  memory  of  all,  and  so 
bombing  became  the  fiece  de  resistance.  All  the  morning 
fatigue  parties  worked  with  spades  and  sandbags,  build- 
ing a  system  of  dummy  trenches,  with  a  huge  sort  of 
castle  from  which  any  practice  could  be  viewed.  The 
battalion  was  only  at  Calais  for  ten  days,  and  most  of  the 
time  was  spent  on  this  work.  When  it  was  finished  each 
company  had  to  do  one  attack  with  live  bombs,  which 
W£VS  amusing  enough,  while  the  brigadier  looked  on  from 

62  WORMHOUDT  [Chap.  V 

the  castle.  It  was  the  commencement  of  an  arrange- 
ment of  bayonet-man,  bomber,  N.C.O.,  bomb-carrier, 
spade-man,  wire-man,  rifle  grenade  man,  and  so  on,  of 
which  there  were  many  variations.  It  seemed  as  though 
each  time  a  successful  raid  was  done  the  particular  for- 
mation adopted  for  that  raid  became  the  standard  for 
future  practice. 

On  the  sands  there  was  an  excellent  range,  but  it  was 
only  used  once,  when  each  man  fired  five  rounds  rapid. 
To  see  some  of  the  old  Hythe-trained  men  like  Sergt.- 
Major  Bland  and  Pte.  Sully  slip  five  rounds  into  the 
target  made  one  wish  a  prophet  of  the  range  would 

The  battalion  left  on  February  25th,  by  train  to 
Bavinchove,  the  station  for  Cassel.  They  arrived  at 
7.30  p.m.  in  a  snowstorm  and  with  a  seven-mile  march 
before  them.  There  was  some  difficulty  in  finding  the 
road,  as  fields  and  road  were  all  covered  with  a  uniform 
depth  of  snow,  and  there  had  been  no  traffic.  At  11.30 
p.m.  they  arrived  at  Wormhoudt,  where  they  found 
splendid  billets,  though  scattered,  and  most  hospitable 
people — the  good  French  ladies  had  prepared  hot  coffee 
for  the  men  and  food  for  the  officers. 

On  the  27th  the  officers  had  their  first  anniversary 
dinner  at  the  Hotel  de  Kester.  And  on  March  1st  the 
whole  battalion  celebrated  St.  David's  Day.  These  two 
dates  are  somewhat  close  together,  and  the  February 
date  was  not  always  observed,  even  when  it  was  possible. 
Major-Gen.  Feilding,  Brig.-Gen.  Heyworth,  and  the 
senior  officers  of  the  other  battalions  of  the  brigade  were 
present.  The  toasts  were  '*  The  King  ''  and  the  "  Im- 
mortal memory  of  St.  David."  '  A  party  of  N.C.O.'s 
from  the  choir  sang  "  Land  of  my  Fathers,''  after  which 
everyone  had  to  sing  something. 

On  March  2nd  Humphrey  Dene  arrived  cured  of  his 
wound  and  "fed  up  "  with  England.  He  took  over 
command  of  No.  4  from  Claud  Insole,  and  his  mercurial 
activity  and  boisterous  good- humour  soon  communicated 
itself  to  the  neighbouring  messes  (in Wormhoudt  there  was 

1  See  Appendix  C, 

Maech  1916]         HUMPHREY  DENE  63 

no  room  large  enougli  for  a  battalion  mess).  He  could, 
if  he  would,  sit  still  for  about  an  hour  with  a  book  and  a 
pipe  and  his  feet  on  the  mantelpiece.  Then  suddenly  the 
book  would  fly  from  his  hand  and  his  feet  from  the 
mantelpiece,  and  he  would  be  engaged  in  a  bear-fight 
with  anyone  who  chanced  to  be  in  the  room.  Or  he 
was  ofi  round  the  men's  billets,  or  calling  on  another 
company,  or  going  to  see  the  horses  at  the  trans- 
port and  have  his  own  horse  saddled  to  ride  five 
miles  to  call  on  a  friend  in  the  Scots  or  the  Grenadier 

He  had  as  servant  Dai  Evans,  a  smart,  good-looking 
Welsh  boy,  who  was  devoted  to  him.  Humphrey  Dene's 
voice  would  be  heard  roaring  in  his  billet,  *'  Evans  ! 
Evans  !  " 

And  at  his  elbow  Evans  would  say,  "  Do  you  want  me, 
sir  ?  ^' 

"  Evans,  where  have  you  been  ?  I  have  been  calHng 
you  for  half  an  hour  !  Where  are  my  breeches,  Evans — 
where  are  my  breeches  ?  Damn  it !  you  don't  care  if 
I  live  or  die  !  " 

"  They  are  on  the  chair,  sir — you  are  sitting  on 

Anything  to  do  with  papers — orders  or  instructions — 
drove  him  distracted.  "  Look  at  this  !  Who  is  the 
asft  who  wrote  this?  Who  can  understand  what  it 
means  ?  "  and  his  thin  face  would  flush  and  his  eyes 
flash  under  a  straight  line  of  brows  at  the  base  of 
a  round  forehead. 

Quite  difierent  was  this  energetic,  quicksilver  man, 
with  thick  hair  of  medium  colour  with  hardly  a  white 
thread  in  it,  and  skimpy  moustache,  from  Claud  Insole, 
who  was  tall  but  with  a  slight  stoop,  thin,  sandy  hair 
and  thick,  closely-clipped  moustache.  Insole  was  short- 
sighted and  wore  glasses.  He  was  gentle  in  manner  and 
voice,  and  had  a  sHght  lisp — also  he  could  not  pronounce 
his  R's.  He  could  not  shout,  but  he  could,  when  occa- 
sion demanded,  act  swiftly,  although  there  appeared  a 
slow  deliberation  about  him. 

The  one  was  an  antidote  to  the  other. 

64  ST.   JAN  TER  BIEZEN  [Chap.  V 

Wormlioudt  was  left  on  March  5th,  when  the  battalion 
moved  to  a  camp  near  St.  Jan  ter  Biezen. 

**  We  marched  from  Wormhoudt  this  morning  at  8 
o'clock  after  rather  a  scramble  and  the  usual  misadven- 
ture with  the  mess-cart — the  horse  bolted  and  the  whole 
show  got  stuck  in  a  hedge.  The  country  we  passed 
through  was  flat,  mth  an  occasional  solitary  and  gentle 
rise  with  a  village  on  top.     The  roads  are  very  bad. 

* '  The  sun  did  its  best,  but  there  was  snow  and  sleet  in 
sharp  showers.  We  crossed  the  Belgian  frontier  and 
arrived  at  our '  Camp.'  Nothing  I  can  write  will  describe 
the  sort  of  place  it  is.  We  are  in  a  mixture  of  tents  and 
huts  placed  round  a  Hop  Farm,  but  the  hop-fields  are 
now  transformed  into  a  sea  of  soft,  sloshy  mud.  Small 
planks  are  laid  down  to  walk  on — they  are  sunk  several 
inches  in  the  mud  and  not  too  easy  to  find — and  the 
whole  battalion  had  to  come  into  camp  from  the  road, 
some  400  yards  away,  in  single  file.  We  roared  when 
we  saw  it. 

"  The  huts  have  tin  roofs  with  gaps  between  the  bits 
of  tin,  and  the  walls  are  partly  mud  and  partly  canvas. 
Each  hut  contains  six  small  cubicles  and  one  double-sized 
one  for  a  two-company  mess.  Needless  to  say,  they  are 
cold  as  charity,  though  there  is  one  stove  !  The  stove 
smokes  and  gives  no  heat,  and  only  the  language  is  really 
\7aTm."— Diary,  C.  H.  D.  W. 

Lieut.  Picton  Phillips  left  the  battalion  at  this  camp. 
He  was  exceedingly  popular  and  an  able  doctor.  His 
place  was  taken  by  "  Mick  "  Rowlette,  a  most  gallant 
young  Irishman,  who  went  through  most  of  the  worst 
engagements  of  the  war,  but  was  unfailingly  cheerful, 
and  had  that  great  Irish  quality  of  sympathetic  en- 
couragement for  those  in  distress.  His  sturdy  figure, 
round  face,  and  kind  eyes  beaming  through  gold-rimmed 
pince-nez  suggested  Ins  character.  Sergt.  Evans,  who 
had  been  under  Phillips,  became  Rowlette's  right-hand 
man — the  work  of  these  two  should  never  be  forgotten 
b^-  the  regiment, 

March  1916]  POPERINGHE  65 

Newborougli  fell  ill  at  St.  Jan  ter  Biezen  and  returned 
to  England.  The  battalion  never  saw  him  again — he 
died  shortly  after. 

On  March  15th  a  move  was  made  to  a  camp  in  A. 30 
Wood  on  the  other  side — north-east — of  Poperinghe. 
This  was  a  much  better  camp.  All  the  men  were  in  good 
huts  built  in  a  wood — and  there  were  excellent  baths. 
The  officers'  baths,  by  the  way,  were  apparently  given 
by  the  Empress  Club. 

The  whole  country-side  was  alive  with  men,  and  here 
and  there  a  monster  gun  stuck  its  ugly  snout  out  of  a 
wood  or  the  side  of  a  harmless-looking  house.  Altogether 
it  was  the  busiest  part  of  the  British  line.  A  constant 
stream  of  traffic  went  up  and  down  the  road,  men  on  foot, 
men  on  horses,  carts,  waggons,  motor-cars  and  lorries. 
Aeroplanes  in  numbers  were  buzzing  round  when  the 
weather  was  decent — captive  balloons  appeared  as  steady 
black  dots  in  the  sky. 

There  were  a  lot  of  civilians  who  used  to  wander 
about — dirty-looking  people  w^ho  spoke  a  kind  of  pidgin 
English,  and  lived  by  selling  chocolates  and  apples  to 
the  men. 

In  peace  time  no  one  would  wish  their  worst  enemy 
in  Poperinghe — in  war  time,  for  those  in  the  salient,  it 
was  the  hub  of  the  universe.  It  is  a  vile  little  town  in 
the  centre  of  a  vile  district. 

All  round  Poperinghe  were  camps — their  name  is 
legion — but  we  are  only  concerned  with  those  at  St.  Jan 
ter  Biezen  (where  there  were  two  together),  one  in  the 
wood  north-east  of  the  town,  A. 30,  and  one  on  the  road 
to  Ypres  not  far  from  Vlamertinghe.  In  any  of  these 
camps  the  battalion  was  said  to  be  at  Poperinghe. 

At  one  time  or  another  most  of  the  British  army 
had  been  in  this  area.  All  have  stories  of  Poperinghe 
— "  The  Fancies,''  "  Ginger's  Restaurant,"  and  so 
on.  They  will  speak  of  the  long,  wide  pave  road 
leading  straight  east  to  Ypres,  and  of  the  semicircle 
the  enemy  had  formed  round  that  place  from  St.  Eloi 
in  the  south  through  Hooge  on  the  east,  to  Boesingh^ 
gn  the  north, 

66  POPERINGHE  [Chap.  V 

What  one  might  call  the  south-eastern  quarter  of  the 
circle  was  held  by  the  Canadians.  The  XIV  Corps,  of 
which  the  Guards  Division  was  now  a  part,  held  the 
north-eastern  quarter  of  the  circle— Hooge  being  the 
Canadian  left. 



On  March  IGth  the  battalion  moved  by  train  to  Ypres. 

**  To  see  a  whole  town  in  ruins  is  like  being  in  an  enor- 
mous churchyard.  There  is  not  a  single  house  with  a  roof 
to  it,  and  not  a  room  with  four  whole  walls.  At  the  end 
of  the  town  farthest  from  the  Boche  you  can  still  follow 
the  plan  of  the  houses  up  to  the  top  floors,  but  there  are 
not  many  like  that  and  only  in  two  or  three  short  streets. 
The  only  exception,  I  think,  is  the  prison,  which  has  been 
knocked  about  but  has  many  good  cells  on  the  ground- 
floor  and  is,  of  course,  untouched  underground.  As  you 
get  farther  into  the  town  the  standing  walls  get  shorter 
till  they  disappear  in  heaps  of  brick  and  dust.  It  is 
beyond  description !  No  earthquake  has  ever  devas- 
tated a  town  in  such  a  fashion.  The  cathedral  struggles 
valiantly  to  retain  the  title  of  '  ruin."  One  side  of  the 
tower  stands  to  a  good  height,  with  a  corner  turret  almost 
perfect,  and  the  entrance  has  an  untouched  Christ  over 
the  door.  But  in  other  places  the  ruined  walls  are  half 
their  original  height,  and  in  some  are  battered  down  into 
huge  mounds  of  stone.  Of  the  inside  nothing  remains — 
just  broken  pillars  lying  about  and  piles  of  powdered 
stone  and  smashed  chairs.  The  same  with  the  Cloth 
Hall.  For  the  rest  of  the  towm  the  roads,  cleared  for 
traffic,  run  between  what  may  be  called  banks  of  broken 

"  There  are  some  wonderful  comers  which  have 
escaped,  such  as  a  small  garden  where  no  shell  has  fallen, 
or  any  bricks  or  rubbish,  and  where  lilac  bushes  are 
budding  and  daffodils  growing. 


68  YPRES  [Chap.  VI 

"  At  night — and  there  was  a  bright  moon  last  night — 
the  town  has  a  most  weird  appearance.  No  lights,  no 
sign  of  life,  no  sound  from  the  ghostly  ruins,  but  along 
the  roads  parties  of  men,  silhouettes  shuffling  over  the 
thick  dust  with  just  a  little  murmur  of  conversation. 
And  then  will  come  a  rumble  in  the  distance,  growing 
into  a  crash  and  a  jangle,  and  a  line  of  artillery  limbers, 
each  drawn  by  six  horses,  will  come  trotting  through. 
Then  all  will  be  quiet  again  except  for  the  shuffling 
silhouettes  and  the  little  murmur  of  conversation. 

**  This,  of  course,  when  there  is  no  shelling." — Diary y 
C.  H.  D.  W. 

Two  places  stand  out  on  the  Western  Front  above  aU 
others — Ypres  and  Verdun.  There  is  an  interesting  book 
to  be  written,  comparing  the  problems  which  had  to  be 
solved  and  the  blood  that  had  to  be  shed  in  both  places. 
Ypres  is  the  monument  to  the  British  Empire. 

The  salient  was  small  and  the  position  to  be  held  was 
villainous.  The  enemy  looked  down  on  the  British  lines 
from  every  side.  The  Second  Army  (Plumer) ,  which  held 
this  line  for  so  long,  was  always  quoted  at  schools  of 
instruction  as  leading  all  the  military  arrangements  of 
the  day,  from  signalling  to  artiUery.  One  of  the  most 
astounding  things  was  the  train  from  Poperinghe  to 
Ypres.  It  was  a  big  effort  to  keep  that  train  going,  but 
it  must  have  saved  thousands  of  lives. 

The  line,  such  of  it  as  concerns  us,  held  in  March  1916 
ran  from  just  opposite  Bellewaard  Lake,  through  Rail- 
way Wood,  Gully  Farm,  Crump  Farm  (in  front  of 
Potijze),  Warwick  Farm,  Cross-roads  Farm,  Turco 
Farm,  to  the  canal  about  700  yards  south  of  Boesinghe. 
This  sector  had  three  main  roads  leading  from  Ypres  to 
the  enemy  lines.  From  the  north-east,  from  the  Menin 
Gate,  came  a  southern  road  through  Hooge  to  Menin, 
and  a  northern  road  through  Potijze  to  Zonnebeke. 
From  the  north,  the  Dixmude  Gate,  was  a  road  through 
Weiltje  to  St.  Julien,  and  so  to  Thourout.  These  three 
roads  stretched  like  three  fingers  through  the  sector 
where  the  Guards  Division  operated. 

March  1916]    THE  MOOD   OF  THE  HUNS  69 

With  the  first  and  second  battles  of  Ypres  we  need 
not  here  concern  ourselves,  but,  as  a  reminder  of  the 
general  situation,  and  to  enable  us  to  understand  the 
mood  of  the  Germans,  we  must  note  a  few  of  the  princi- 
pal events  since  the  battle  of  Loos. 

It  is  as  well  to  bear  in  mind,  even  when  following  the 
fortunes  of  one  battalion,  that  this  war  was  fought,  and 
the  Welsh  Guards  were  fighting,  against  the  Central 
Powers  of  Europe,  and  not  Germany  alone.  Germany- 
was  the  leader  and  instigator  of  it  all,  but  even  as  the 
Germans  had  to  manipulate  their  reserves  between  the 
French,  the  Belgian,  the  Russian,  the  Rumanian,  and  to 
some  extent  the  Austro-Russian  and  Austro-Italian 
fronts,  so  British  troops,  and  amongst  them  the  Welsh 
Guards,  were  affected  by  success  or  reverse  on  more 
distant  fronts.  A  success  of  Austrians  and  Turks  against 
the  Russians  was  the  cause  of  jubilation  in  Berlin  and 
the  German  troops  facing  the  British.  Probably  the 
average  German  recognised  the  magnitude  of  this  war 
to  a  far  greater  extent  than  the  average  Englishman  did. 

The  Central  Powers  had  captured  Poland,  Serbia  and 
Montenegro,  the  Russians  had  been  driven  out  of  GaUcia, 
and  Gen.  Townshend  had  surrendered  in  Mesopotamia. 
The  war  was  going  well,  the  Huns  had  their  "  tails  up,'' 
and  Germany  thought  the  time  had  come  to  turn  her 
attention  seriously  to  the  Western  Front.  The  Western 
Front  became  excessively  lively.  In  February  the  big 
effort  was  made  on  Verdun,  and  it  is  interesting  to  note, 
in  view  of  after-knowledge,  the  rumours  which  had  circu- 
lated in  the  battalion  about  the  French  situation. 

At  the  end  of  February  the  story  was  that  the  French 
were  tremendously  pleased  with  the  way  things  were 
going,  that  they  had  made  up  their  minds  they  would 
have  to  lose  Verdun,  and  found  that  they  were  not  only 
able  to  hold  it  but  to  inflict  fearful  losses  on  the  enemy. 
Also  that  the  Germans  had  made  two  mistakes — the  first 
in  attacking  with  the  Alsatian  Corps,  and  the  second  in 
not  bringing  up  their  guns  to  support  their  infantry. 

But,  apart  from  the  battle  of  Verdun,  the  Germans 
became  very  aggressive  round  Ypres.     In  the  middle  of 

70  YPRES  [Chap.  VI 

February  the  enemy  had  captured  six  or  seven  hundred 
yards  of  trench  near  Hill  60 — they  had  used  a  heavy 
bombardment  and  exploded  five  mines.  This  was  re- 
taken in  March,  but  it  was  the  commencement  of  much 
severe  fighting  from  Hooge  to  St.  Eloi,  and  heavy  bom- 
bardments of  the  salient  in  general. 

The  first  sector  taken  over  by  the  Guards  Division  was 
about  3,700  yards, and  ran  from  a  point  about  250  yards 
north  of  the  Menin  Road  to  Wieltje,  the  actual  left  being 
on  a  trench  called  Pratt  Street.  This  front  was  divided 
into  a  right  and  left  sector  by  Duke  Street. 

So  much  has  been  said  about  the  observation  from 
enemy  lines  that  the  mental  picture  of  Ypres,  as  imagined 
by  those  who  have  not  been  there,  might  very  well  be  of 
a  flat  country  surrounded  by  steep,  frowning  hills.  Such 
is  not  the  case.  The  ridges  are  very  low.  But  in  a  flat 
country  a  thirty-metre  rise  is  a  matter  of  great  import- 
ance. The  ground  just  sloped  very  gently  from  the  Ger- 
man positions  down  to  the  canal,  and  from  thence  to 
Poperinghe  there  was  precious  little  in  the  way  of  a  rise. 
For  instance,  the  High  Command  Redoubt,  which  over- 
looked a  large  stretch  of  country,  was  on  the  twenty-five- 
metre  contour.  The  trouble  was  that  not  only  could  the 
enemy  overlook  and  enfilade  our  line,  but  all  the  country 
as  far  as  Ypres  was  under  observation  and  a  great  deal 
of  it  behind  Ypres  as  well.  All  movement  in  day-time 
was  most  difficult. 

The  ground  on  the  right  of  the  division  was  very  much 
cut  up  and  wet.  There  was  no  protection  there  at  all, 
and  it  was  very  weakly  held.  The  most  important  point 
on  the  right  was  Railway  Wood,  where,  although  the 
trenches  were  barely  "  fair,"  there  were  shell-proof  dug- 
outs capable  of  holding  200  men.  This  was  the  highest 
ground  we  occupied,  and  the  only  possible  ground  for 
dugouts,  being  between  the  35  and  40  metre  contours, 
and  with  the  BeUewaard  Beke  running  only  200  yards 
to  the  west  of  it.  Mining  was  going  on  there  to  a  depth 
of  80  feet.  The  enemy  were  on  the  top  of  the  ridge, 
which  is  just  over  45  metres  at  Bellewaard  Farm.  From 
Railway  Wood  our  line  ran  down  the  slope  to  the  Ypres— 

Makch  1916]  THE    LINE  71 

Zonnebeke  Road,  so  that  the  retention  of  this  high 
ground  was  vital  to  our  front  line  defences  for  over  a 
thousand  yards. 

The  capture  of  Hooge  would  not  seriously  affect  the 
Guards  r)i\'ision,  but  would  be  troublesome  for  the 
troops  responsible  for  Sanctuary  Wood,  farther  still  on 
the  right.  In  front  of  Potijze  the  defences  were  properly 
described  as  "  sketchy,''  and  at  Wieltje  were  bad. 

The  line  the  Welsh  Guards  took  over  had  been  allowed 
to  get  out  of  repair,  and  consisted  in  most  places  of 
trenches  with  an  occasional  breastwork.  It  was  difficult 
to  drain  the  surface  water,  as  it  would  not  percolate 
through  the  clay  ;  also  there  were  many  springs.  There 
were  no  dugouts,  and  the  enemy  line  at  the  farthest 
point  was  150  yards  away. 

The  support  line  was  in  a  bad  state  everywhere. 

A  further  support  line,  the  X  line,  which  ran  to  Hell 
Fire  Corner,  was  well  in  view  of  the  enemy,  and  could 
be  frightfully  battered.  In  fact,  the  front  system  would 
have  been  untenable  under  a  heavy  and  prolonged  bom- 
bardment, and  the  intention  was  to  withdraw  to  the 
canal  line  if  a  big  attack  were  made. 

The  battalion  went  into  the  line  on  March  20th,  and 
it  was  pitch  dark — no  moon  till  late  and  the  sky  was 
overcast.  The  march  down  the  communication  trench 
was  very  slow(from  Potijze).  Most  of  it  was  under  water, 
and  the  men  fell  about  in  the  dark.  The  line  was  really 
a  double  line,  one  about  fifty  yards  behind  the  other,  and 
the  only  shelters  were  in  the  rear  line,  and  then  not 
sufficient  for  half  the  company.  No  one  had  seen  the 
trench  except  at  night,  and  it  was  impossible  to  know 
what  work  should  be  done.  Probably  all  thought  the 
easiest  thing  was  to  make  a  new  trench  altogether.  But 
the  one  evident  job  was  to  heighten  the  parapet.  For 
this  sandbags  were  necessary,  and  there  were  scarcely 
100  in  the  trench.  And  for  any  work  spades  were  essen- 
tial, and  they  had  been  left  so  scattered,  and  it  was  so 
dark,  that  more  than  a  dozen  could  not  be  found. 
Fortunately  the  battalion  had  been  late  relieving,  as 
they  were  told  to  wait  for  gum-boots,  but  the  two  front 


72  YPRES  [Chap.  VI 

line  companies  stood  in  the  trench  after  "  taking  over," 
wretchedly  cold,  and  doing  nothing,  while  officers  and 
N.C.O/s  floundered  about  in  the  quagmire,  trying  to  get 
some  definite  idea  of  the  place  and  find  necessary  tools. 

**  We  got  a  few  men  on  to  digging  a  drain,  which 
seemed  perhaps  more  wanted  even  than  the  parapet,  and 
then,  just  before  five  o'clock,  a  party  arrived  with 
rations  !  We  had  a  job  to  get  them  distributed  before 
daylight.  It  was  raining  all  the  time,  and  very  cold. 
We  breakfasted  about  ten,  and  sat  in  a  tiny  shelter  and 
dozed  for  a  few  minutes,  only  to  wake  up  and  laugh  at 
our  misery.  Pa  Heyworth  (the  brigadier)  managed  to 
get  round,  and  found  a  box  of  rusty  bombs  and  raised 
Cain.  I  wonder  if  he  could  suggest  something  for  my 
rusty  joints !  " 

The  bit  of  line  the  battalion  had  taken  over  was  from 
the  left  of  the  Railway  Line  to  Duke  Street.  There  were 
two  companies  in  the  front  line  and  two  companies  in 
the  X  line,  with  Battalion  H.Q.  in  the  chateau  grounds 
at  Potijze. 

The  conditions  were  very  bad,  but  work  did  progress. 
Spades  were  found,  and  the  parapet  heightened  and 
strengthened.  "The  men  were  wonderful— cursing  and 
blaspheming,  but  wilhng  and  cheery  all  through." 

In  the  matter  of  casualties  the  first  tour  of  duty  was 
a  lucky  one ;  there  were  only  7.  Ypres  was  a  fearful 
drain  on  man-power.  The  casualties  in  Laventie  were 
15  in  November,  11  in  December,  8  in  January,  5  in 
February.  At  Ypres  they  were  42  in  April,  24  in  May 
(11  days),  49  in  June  ;  and  these  were  months  when  the 
battalion  was  not  engaged  in  any  enterprise  against  the 

On  the  24th  they  were  all  back  at  Ypres,  and  on  the 
25th  went  by  train  to  Poperinghe.  Meanwhile  Gilead 
Smith  had  gone  sick  and  Percy  Battye  took  over  No.  2 

This  was  the  first  time  the  battalion  was  actually  in 
Poperinghe.    One  of  the  immediate  duties  was  to  get  the 

April  1916]  WIELTJE  SECTOR  73 

men  to  the  baths,  and  we  find  the  Commanding  Officer 
notes  that  they  are  "  not  to  my  mind  satisfactory.  Con- 
sist of  two  vats  10  feet  by  10  feet  and  filled  to  a  depth  of 
2  feet.  The  water  is  changed  every  two  hours,  and  only 
one  vat  going  at  one  time.  They  take  120  men  an  hour, 
so  it  means  240  men  in  same  water — not  sanitary  or  nice. 
They  say  not  sufficient  hot  water  to  do  more.  I  saw  the 
washing  of  clothes  arrangement.  They  first  go  through 
a  disinfector,  and  then  are  dipped  in  creosote,  so  they 
should  be  all  right." 

The  battalion  being  more  or  less  clean,  sought  the 
amusements  of  Poperinghe — the  men  at  the  canteens, 
the  officers  at  "  Ginger's,''  or  a  place  run,  we  think,  by  a 
lady  called  "  Kiki  "  ;  and  everybody  to  the  *'  Fancies." 

In  the  morning  there  was  drill,  bombing  practice,  and 
route  marches— the  afternoons  were  mostly  free.  The 
square  in  the  centre  of  the  town  was  a  scene  of  much 
movement  both  night  and  day.  There  was  "  tremendous 
traffic  always  going  through,  all  military  carts  and  lim- 
bers, and  making  a  fearful  clatter.  Horses  of  all  kinds — 
fierce  ones,  silly  ones,  and  \sdse-looking  ones  with  Roman 
noses  and  hairy  legs,  and  mules,  absurdly  like  those  in 
Punch,  having  jokes  on  their  own.  English  soldiers  in 
crowds,  and  a  good  many  French." 

On  April  3rd  the  Third  Brigade  went  into  the  line 
again,  the  Welsh  Guards  going  in  the  Wieltje  sector  from 
John  Street  to  BuiTs  Road.  (B9).  They  were  in  the  for- 
ward system  for  16  days — 4  days  in  the  front  line,  then 
4  days  at  Ypres,  then  again  in  the  front  line  and  again 
at  Ypres.  From  the  moment  they  arrived  the  enemy 
started  a  steady  bombardment  of  the  front  line.  By  a 
fortunate  coincidence  the  divisional  artillery,  together 
with  the  XIV  and  Canadian  Corps'  heavy  guns,  were  to 
start  a  bombardment  on  the  4th,  and  in  order  to  thin 
the  line  against  retaliation  a  platoon  from  each  of  No.  2 
and  No.  3  Companies,  with  three  officers,  were  left  behind 
in  Poperinghe  for  four  days.  The  line  then  was  very 
thin — also  very  bad,  being  blown  in  in  many  places — and 
very  confusing.  The  enemy  bombardment  increased  to 
'*  heavy  fire  "  for  two  or  three  periods  of  half  an  hour 

74  YPRES  [Chap.  VI 

eacli  every  day,  and  it  was  practically  continuous  for 
the  first  four  days  in  the  line. 

On  April  11th,  as  the  battalion  were  getting  ready  to 
relieve  the  Scots  Guards,  the  enemy  attacked  the  neigh- 
bouring division  on  the  left,  but  were  repulsed.  The 
British  artillery  was  also  busy,  and  caused  some  annoy- 
ance to  the  German  front  line  by  searching  it  with  8-inch 

The  2nd  Brigade  had  started  the  relief  of  the  3rd 
Brigade  on  the  evening  of  April  19th,  when  the  enemy 
increased  their  fire  on  Wieltje.  It  assumed  such  propor- 
tions that  an  attack  was  obvious,  and  the  Welsh  Guards, 
who  were  then  in  Ypres,  took  up  their  battle  positions 
in  the  Kaai  Salient  (north-east  side  of  the  town).  It 
was  a  bad  place  to  get  at,  and  the  night  was  absolutely 
black.  But  beyond  getting  covered  with  mud,  and  using 
much  strong  language  as  they  fell  over  heaps  of  brick 
and  quantities  of  wire,  they  were  not  called  upon  to  do 
anything  further. 

It  was  a  lively  night,  as  the  etiemy  had  attacked  the 
Canadians  on  the  right  and  the  6th  Division  on  the  left 
as  well  as  the  Scots  and  Grenadier  Guards.  A  few  got 
into  a  part  of  the  line  at  Wieltje,  but  were  killed  or 
taken  prisoners  ;  but  they  held  some  craters  on  the  Cana- 
dian front,  and  some  few  hundred  yards  of  trench  on  the 
6th  Division  front.  The  6th  Division  restored  their  line 
a  few  days  later,  but  the  Canadians  were  having  a  rough 
time  on  the  right,  and  fighting  there  was  incessant.  It 
raged  for  a  long  time  round  some  craters  which  were 
taken  first  by  one  side,  then  by  the  other,  but  the  artillery 
fire  on  these  occasions  covered  most  of  the  salient. 

During  the  ensuing  eight  days'  rest  at  Poperinghe 
the  whole  battalion  was  inoculated  against  typhoid. 
"  Mick  "  Rowlette  presided  with  his  needles  and  squirt, 
and  beamed  with  delight  at  the  abuse  handed  out  to 
him.  And  the  next  tour  of  duty  in  the  forward  area 
was  a  strenuous  one. 

'*  On  May  2nd  there  was  some  violent  shelling  on  our 
front  at  midday  and  the  early  part  of  the  afternoon, 

May  1916]  ARTILLERY  FIRE  75 

and  later  the  devil  of  a  bombardment  on  the  Canadians, 
to  which  we  only  seemed  to  reply  with  a  few  whizzbangs — 
as  one  of  the  men  said,  *  Another  case  of  ninepence  for 
fom:pence/  This  was  followed  by  heavy  rifle-fire,  60  we 
suppose  the  Boche  has  popped  the  parapet. 

"  We  were  listening  to  all  this,  and  it  had  about  fin- 
ished, when  Jack  Crawshay  came  into  the  trench  looking 
very  rosy  and  childlike,  and  announced  he  had  been 
ordered  to  crawl  up  to  the  Boches  and  listen  to  them 
talking,  he  being  acquainted  with  the  Hun  language. 
He  took  Sergt.  G.  Davies  and  Sully  with  him.  In  about 
an  hour  a  bomb  went  off  and  the  enemy  sent  up  three  or 
four  star-lights.  We  could  then  see  three  figures  running 
towards  us,  and  the  Hun  saw  them  too,  and  began  throw- 
ing bombs  like  mad  and  ripping  off  their  machine  guns. 
But  they  all  got  back — Jacky  out  of  breath  and  Sully 
seemingly  rather  bored  as  he  crossed  his  legs  and  lit  a 
cigarette.  Jacky  said  they  wandered  about  till  they 
heard  some  one  talking,  but  could  not  quite  place  it. 
Trying  to  find  out  where  it  was  they  bumped  into  a  lis- 
tening post.  Someone  said  '  Wer  Da,'  and  immediately 
started  to  throw  bombs.  *  There  was  too  much  noise  to 
hear  any  more,*  said  Jacky,  *  so  I  came  back  to  report 
what  I  had  heard.' 

"  The  battalion  went  back  to  Vlamertinghe  instead  of 
Ypres,  in  quite  a  nice  camp  near  the  road,  and  we  had 
instruction  in  the  management  of  a  torpedo  for  blowing 
up  wire  entanglements. 

"  We  went  back  to  Ypres  by  train  on  the  7th,  and 
found  the  Huns  were  shelling  hard — the  roads,  the  rail- 
way and  the  town.  When  we  marched  into  the  town  we 
found  the  roads  blocked  with  traffic — a  mass  of  transport 
waggons  and  artillery  limbers.  The  Hun  was  pumping 
shells  into  the  Square  and  the  Menin  Gate.  Every  now 
and  then  an  artillery  limber  would  disentangle  itself  and 
go  galloping  across,  making  a  fiendish  noise  on  the  cob- 
bles. Finally  we  got  across  the  Square,  and  when  we 
reached  the  Menin  Gate  found  the  Hun  was  shelling  the 
road  like  mad.  I  don't  know  why  we  were  not  caught. 
Our  luck  was  that  most  of  the  sheUs  fell  by  the  side,  and 

76  yPRES  [Chap.  VI 

those  that  fell  on  the  road  did  not  fall  on  us.  This  went 
on  till  the  early  hours  of  the  morning,  and  started  again 
at  midday.  They  confined  themselves  mostly  to  the 
roads,  but  it  was  a  heavy  affair. 

"  No  Man's  Land  is  ours.  Battye  strolled  over  and 
put  a  flag  on  the  enemy  wire.  Dene,  Sergt.  Mathias,  and 
fifteen  men  strung  themselves  across  and  waited  two 
nights  running  to  catch  a  Hun  patrol,  but  saw  nothing. 
Crawford  Wood  did  the  same. 

"In  the  early  morning  of  the  9  th  the  enemy  started  a 
heavy  bombardment  of  Eailway  Wood.  Our  artillery 
seemed  to  be  making  good  shooting  too,  especially  their 
shrapnel,  which  burst  about  twenty  feet  from  the  ground. 
A  devil  of  a  lot  of  white  and  black  smoke,  and  when  the 
shooting  was  at  its  height  the  Hun  let  off  a  mine.  The 
whole  country  shook,  and  a  great  column  of  smoke  and 
earth  rose  slowly,  like  an  enormous  fountain.  And  then 
for  a  few  seconds  there  was  quiet,  and  then  the  welcome 
crackle  of  musketry,  to  show  that  all  the  Grenadiers  were 
not  blown  up.  Almost  on  top  of  it  came  a  storm  of 
shrapnel  from  our  field-guns.  It  simmered  down  very 
quickly — some  birds  began  to  sing  and  some  partridges 
called  in  the  broken  ground  behind  us.  Later  we  heard 
that  the  brigadier  had  been  killed  by  a  stray  bullet  when 
going  up  to  see  the  damage.  It  is  very  depressing,  as  he 
was  a  very  gallant  fellow  and  a  very  good  sort — friendly 
with  all  his  officers  and  knowing  them  aU,  and  he  always 
visited  the  line  once  in  twenty-four  hours,  which  is  a 
great  deal  more  than  a  good  many  do. 

"  The  Hun  attack  failed  miserably,  but  later  on  we 
got  some  shells  and  a  lot  of  rain.'" 

Officially  life  in  the  line  was  covered  by  the  following 
order : 

**  All  work  will  be  done  during  the  hours  of  darkness. 
There  will  be  no  moving  about  by  day.  Teas  and  rifle 
inspection  will  be  carried  out  just  before  dark,  work 
from  dark  to  midnight — dinners  at  midnight — work  to 
recommence  at  1  a.m.  until  '  stand  to  arms,'  which  will 


May  1916]       A  REST  AT  WORMHOUDT  77 

be  for  not  less  than  twenty  minutes.  Teas  and  inspec- 
tion of  arms,  after  which  everyone  will  dismiss  until 

It  sounds  an  easy  life. 

There  was  through  all  ranks  the  most  genuine  grief  at 
the  death  of  "  Pa  "  Heyworth — a  brave  and  able  soldier, 
a  good  friend,  and  a  picturesque  figure. 

The  battalion  came  out  of  the  line  for  two  days  in 
brigade  reserve  at  Camp  A,  near  Vlamertinghe,  and  then 
went  into  divisional  reserve  at  Poperinghe  for  eight  days. 
There  were  fatigues  on  the  new  railway  and  the  weather 
was  fine.  There  were  also  some  new  officers — Kearton 
and  Goetz  had  joined  on  the  7th  and  Basil  Hambrough 
on  May  11th.  But  against  that  Keith  Menzies  had 
gone  home  sick. 

Under  date  May  19th  there  is  an  entry  in  the  official 
diary : 

"  Battalion  marched  at  8  a.m. ,  arriving  at  Wormhoudt 
at  1.15  p.m. — fourteen  miles — under  Major  Price.  Very 
hot  day,  and  several  men  feU  out."' 

This  entry  conceals  an  important  fact  noted  by  many 
officers  during  the  war.  Men  do  not  get  hard  in  trenches. 
It  is  sometimes  imagined  that  because  the  conditions  are 
bad,  the  weather  vile,  the  fatigues  heavy,  that  the  men 
must  therefore  be  in  excellent  condition.  The  very  re- 
verse is  the  case.  There  was  a  sudden  burst  of  fine 
weather,  of  real  summer  heat,  and  the  battalion  had  been 
in  the  forward  area  since  March  5th.  All  went  well  until 
they  had  gone  about  ten  miles,  and  by  that  time  the  sun 
was  well  up  and  the  heat  intense.  There  was  not  a  dry 
coat  in  the  battalion.  Then,  going  up  a  rise,  the  first  man 
collapsed.  There  was  nothing  to  be  done  ;  the  man  was 
in  a  faint.  And  so  it  went  on  until  they  arrived  at 
Wormhoudt.  Out  of  tw^enty-five  men  who  fell  out 
twenty-three  fell  down  absolutely  senseless,  and  the  other 
two  were  staggering  about  like  drunken  men,  and  would 
have  been  down  in  another  minute.     "We  left  N.C.O.'s 

78  WORMHOUDT  [Chap.  VI 

to  look  after  them,  but  it  looked  very  bad  to  see  some 
forty  men  come  in,  half  of  them  in  an  exhausted  state, 
a  couple  of  hours  or  so  after  the  battalion/' 

Such  accidents  are  very  annoying  to  the  pride  of  a 
regiment,  but  on  the  other  hand  they  are  a  useful  experi- 
ence. The  problem  of  how  to  keep  men  fit  will  vary 
with  the  conditions  prevailing  at  the  moment.  Practice 
marching  during  the  twelve  or  fourteen  days  in  Ypre3 
and  the  front  line  (the  period  varied,  see  Appendix)  was 
out  of  the  question ;  and  while  at  Poperinghe  in  divi- 
sional reserve  such  hours  of  marching  as  could  be  done 
between  fatigues  did  not  amount  to  many.  There  had, 
however,  been  a  tendency  to  do  those  few  marches  in 
musketry  order,  with  the  idea  of  not  unduly  tiring  the 
men — a  very  questionable  benefit  under  the  circum- 

At  Wormhoudt  Brig.-Gen.  Charles  Corkran  arrived  to 
take  command  of  the  3rd  Brigade.  He  was  probably  the 
most  popular  brigadier  the  brigade  ever  had.  It  is  hard 
to  say,  as  the  varying  difficulties  to  be  met  would  in  all 
probability  reflect  on  the  popularity  of  the  brigadier — 
popularity  is  not  always  based  on  reason.  At  all  events, 
for  junior  officers  he  had  these  qualities — that  he  was  the 
most  approachable  man,  that  he  never  forgot  a  name, 
that  when  he  knew  something  difficult  was  to  be  done 
he  always  discussed  fully  with  officers  on  the  spot  before 
issuing  his  orders  (when  it  was  at  all  possible  to  do  so), 
and  he  created  round  him  that  atmosphere  of  benevolent 
autocracy  which  induces  men  to  obey  orders  for  the  sake 
of  those  who  give  them,  apart  from  a  sense  of  duty,  and 
he  had  the  absolute  confidence  of  his  brigade.  The  feel- 
ing was  of  whole-hearted  support  from  the  brigadier, 
that  he  was  helping  you  in  a  tight  corner,  and,  whether 
it  was  true  or  not  is  beside  the  point,  that  he  would  fight 
the  higher  command  to  get  everything  that  was  asked 
for  when  in  action.  As  a  fighter,  too,  he  had  up-to-date 
ideas,  and  almost  at  once  insisted  on  the  value  of  trench 

Amongst  the  infantry  there  was  generally  a  dislike  of 
trench  mortars,  which  arose,  we  thinl^:,  from  the  tentative 

May  1916]  SPORT  79 

way  they  were  first  used.  The  little  Vickers  Gun,  with 
the  stick-bomb,  was  very  good  in  its  way,  but  it  was 
annoying  to  the  infantryman  to  see  a  few  specialists 
(total  strangers)  suddenly  appear  in  the  trench,  set  up  a 
little  machine,  fire  half  a  dozen  bombs,  pack  up  their 
machine,  and  go  away  ;  more  especially  as  the  time 
necessary  for  the  fulfilment  of  this  action  just  about 
coincided  with  the  pause  before  the  enemy  retaliation. 

The  little  Vickers  Gun  was  used  at  Laventie — the 
Stokes  Gun  first  went  into  action  with  the  division  at 
Ypres  (when  the  battalion  promptly  lost  the  services  of 
Stephen  Stokes  for  no  other  reason  than  that  his  name 
was  Stokes.  But  he  was  a  good  selection,  and  was  an 
excellent  T.M.  officer).  Up  to  this  date  the  Stokes  Guns 
had  not  been  fired  much. 

Training  never  ceased  at  Wormhoudt.  There  was  the 
inevitable  bombing  practice,  shooting  at  a  small  thirty- 
yards  range,  wiring,  and  of  course  drill.  And  there  were 
sports  as  well. 

The  battalion  sports  took  place  on  May  30th.  Major- 
Gen.  Feilding  and  the  brigadier  attended,  %vith  a  lot  of 
officers  from  all  the  battalions  in  reach,  and  some  French 
officers  as  well.  It  was  a  most  cheery  meeting.  To 
mention  only  a  few  of  the  outstanding  characters,  there 
was  C.Q.M.S.  Hinton,  with  his  red  face,  little  pointed 
moustache,  and  Herculean  legs,  winning  the  100  yards' 
race  ;  Sergt.  Glover  (then  a  private)  outclassing  every- 
body else  in  the  walking  race  in  full  marching  order,  and 
in  his  loud,  cheery  voice  exchanging  repartee  with  the 
crowd  ;  C.Q.M.S.  Plunter  taking  part  in  the  tug-of-war, 
the  tattooed  picture  of  the  Virgin  Mary  on  his  chest ; 
and  Sergt.  Pottinger,  entering  for  every  event  and  win- 
ning nothing,  but  enjoying  himself  hugely  as  he  became 
more  and  more  exhausted.  The  Commanding  Officer 
won  the  officers'  100  yards'  race,  and  the  brigadier  the 
mule  race — Dabell  riding  the  celebrated  beast,  Isaac,  and 
getting  a  fearful  toss.  Sergt.-Major  Bland  and  Drill- 
Sergt.  Dunldey  marshalled  the  competitors.  (Dunkley 
had  taken  the  place  of  Harris,  who  was  wounded  at 
Wieltje.)    It  was  a  very  successful  meeting. 

80  YPRES  [Chap.  VI 

At  these  sports  the  battalion  could  always  put  in  a  fair 
number  of  entries  for  whom  they  need  make  no  excuse. 
Rudge,  the  pioneer,  and  Manning  were  good  class  run- 
ners ;  Drum-Major  Herd  was  very  fast  on  a  100  yards' 
sprint ;  Watkins  was  quite  a  respectable  high  jumper 
until  he  was  shot  through  the  leg,  C.S.M.  Pearce, 
C.Q.M.S.  Rendall,  Pte.  Davies  (with  a  blue  mark  from  a 
mine  explosion  on  his  nose),  Pte.  Young,  Sergt.  Owen, 
Sergt.  Humphries,  and  many  others  were  sportsmen 
against  whom  credit  could  be  won. 

On  June  1st  the  battalion  marched  back  to  St.  Jan  ter 
Biezen,  where  they  had  L  Camp,  next  to  K,  which  they 
had  formerly  occupied. 

The  livening  up  which  had  been  going  on  in  the  Ypres 
Salient  now  reached  a  high  pitch.  The  struggle  between 
French  and  German  was  still  going  on  at  Verdun,  and 
the  enemy  knew  of  the  preparations  on  the  Somme  Front. 
They  decided  to  increase  the  pace  at  Ypres.  On  June  2nd 
they  attacked  the  Canadians  in  force.  The  Welsh  Guards 
were  confined  to  camp,  ready  to  move  at  a  moment's 
notice,  and  from  a  distance  watched  the  bursting  shrap- 
nel and  the  German  artillery  lights. 

This  attack  was  preceded  by  a  hurricane  bombardment 
and  the  explosion  of  mines,  and  was  so  far  successful  that 
the  Canadians  in  the  line  were  overwhelmed,  and  the 
enemy  occupied  Sanctuary  Wood  and  Zouave  Wood  ; 
some  few  even  got  as  far  as  Zillebeke.  Bombardments 
then  became  incessant. 

On  June  4th  Nos.  2  and  3  Companies,  under  Battye 
and  Aldridge,  and  fifty  men  from  No.  4,  went  up  under 
Major  Price  to  work  on  the  defences  of  the  canal  bank 
and  the  L  Line  behind  the  canal. 

"  Canal  Bank, 
"  June  5th. 

"  The  night  was  a  bit  noisy,  not  that  we  were  shelled 
to  any  great  extent,  but  we  are  working  in  front  of  some 
of  our  own  batteries,  and  they  were  banging  away  in 
hearty  fashion.  Being  a  fatigue  party  in  an  area  de- 
fended by  other  troops,  we  have  to  get  shelter  where  we 
can.     We  were  lucky  last  night  in  getting  good  dugouts, 

June  1916]  A  BAD  FATIGUE  81 

but  they  are  now  wanted,  and  we  go  about  a  mile  farther 
back  to-night/' 

"June  6th. 

"  We  had  to  clear  at  two  this  morning  to  make  way 

for  incoming  troops.     The  Canadians  had  launched  an 

attack  about  one,  and  the  place  was  fairly  warm,  and  a 

heavy  barrage  round  the  back  of  the  canal.     There  was 

nothing  for  it  and  we  had  to  go  through.    Lewis  (Windsor 

Lewis)  had  gone  about  midnight  with  the  men  who  had 

been  working  by  day,  so  I  sent  my  men  off  in  small 

parties,  and  by  the  grace  of  God  they  all  got  through, 

with  nothing  more  than  a  few  chunks  of  mud  blown  at 

them.     I  was  very  glad  to  reach  the  new  quarters,  which 

are  decent  dugouts  on  either  side  of  the  Ypres — Elver- 

dinghe  Road.     I  put  half  of  my  men  in  the  first  lot  and 

took  the  other  half  over  the  road.     Owing  to  the  shelling 

which  still  continued  there  was  no  one  about,  and  I  had 

no  idea  which  of  the  dugouts  were  for  us ;   but,  seeing  a 

man  poke  his  head  out  of  one, I  asked  him, and  he  directed 

me  to  the  back  of  a  ruin.     I  then  asked  where  Lewis  was, 

and  he  said  he  had  been  killed.     It  gave  me  a  fearful 

shock,  and  I  could  not  believe  it  for  a  moment,  but  with 

a  hazy  kind  of  idea  that,  after  all,  it  was  not  so  impossible 

I  managed  to  lead  my  men  to  the  dugouts.     Then  the 

man  led  me  to  another  dugout,  where  I  found  poor  Lewis 

quite  dead.     A  charming,  kind,  gentle  man,  of  whom  I 

was  very  fond.     He  fussed  and  worried  about  his  men 

until  he  frequently  made  himself  ill,  and  it  was  while 

looking  round  to  see  that  none  of  them  were  exposing 

themselves  that  he  got  hit.     I  collected  his  personal 

things  and  went  to  see  Price.     He  was  in  a  dugout  about 

half  a  mile  down  the  road,  with  Percy  Battye  and  No.  2 

Company  ;  quite  a  rotten  place,  too,  with  shells  pitching 

all  round  it.    I  then  went  back  to  my  men  dog-tired,  and 

slept  for  three  hours. 

"  Lunched  with  Aldridge,  who  was  very  upset  at  the 
news.  And  then  another  battle  started,  and  the  Hun 
put  down  a  barrage  on  the  road.  I  got  back  to  my  place 
about  five,  but  the  battle  was  still  going  on,  and  the  road 
not  at  all  nice.'' 

82  YPRES  [Chap.  VI 

"June  8th. 
"In  the  canal  bank  last  night  rumours  were  flying 
about  in  all  directions — that  we  had  lost  some  more 
trenches  on  the  right,  that  we  had  retaken  them,  that 
we  had  not  retaken  them,  that  a  ship  with  Kitchener  and 
Eobertson  on  board  had  been  sunk,  that  it  was  only  a 
ship  called  '  the  Kitchener,'  and  Heaven  knows  what 
else/'— Diary,  C.  H.  D.  W. 

The  evil  fatigue  was  over,  and  the  whole  battalion  was 
back  in  Wormhoudt  on  the  9th,  the  fatigue  companies 
arriving  the  day  after  headquarters  and  the  rest  of  the 
battalion.  But  the  temper  of  the  enemy  may  well  be 
imagined.  Verdun,  it  is  true,  was  not  going  too  well  for 
him,  but  no  doubt  he  was  fed  on  stories  of  the  masses  of 
French  soldiers  he  was  killing,  and  in  the  death  of  Lord 
Kitchener  he  must  have  read  an  omen  of  the  fall  of 
Britain.  But  French  and  English,  like  the  lady  barber 
in  Wormhoudt,  went  on  with  their  business. 

"The  lady  barber  in  the  town  cut  my  hair.  She  is  a 
strong,  stout  body,  taking  the  place  of  her  husband,  who 
is  fighting.  We  talked  of  the  war  and  of  Verdun.  I 
asked  her  how  she  would  like  it  when  the  war  was  over 
and  her  husband  came  back^ would  she  go  on  working  ? 
She  said  all  the  women  would  continue  to  work  and  the 
men  would  rest  all  day.  She  also  said  women  were  lucky 
to  be  married  now,  as  there  would  not  be  enough  men 
to  go  round.  I  told  her  the  women  would  have  to  share 
and  share  alike.  She  said.  No  !  a  little  sharing  was  all 
right  during  the  war,  but  after  each  woman  should  have 
'  son  bien ! ' '" 

On  the  14th  Major  Price  was  called  away  from  the 
battalion  on  a  staff  appointment.  On  the  15th  a  move 
was  made  back  to  St,  Jan  ter  Biezen,  L  Camp ;  on  the 
same  day  the  daylight-saving  scheme  was  put  into  prac- 
tice, and  all  watches  were  put  back  an  hour. 

The  Commanding  Officer  and  the  company  command- 
ers went  up  to  see  the  new  line  in  the  left  sector,  the 

June  1916] 



nortliem  part  of  the  salient,  the  scene  of  the  enemy's 
momentary  success  earlier  in  the  year  against  the  6th 
Division.  It  was  reported  to  have  some  bad  places  in 
it,  and  Luxmoore  Ball,  being  told  of  an  enemy  sap  about 
fifty  yards  away,  climbed  out  to  have  a  look  at  it,  and 
was  promptly  shot  through  the  shoulder.  Olive  then 
took  over  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  having  Craw- 
ford Wood  and  de  Wiart  under  him. 

The  situation  in  the  salient  was  that  the  Canadians 
had  re-estabhshed  the  whole  of  their  line  on  June  13th, 
but  the  fighting  was  still  going  on,  and  on  the  17th  we 
find  the  battalion  "  standing  to  "  all  night,  owing  to  a 
German  attack  on  Hooge  and  Railway  Wood. 

On  the  18th  they  moved  up  to  the  canal  bank. 

The  state  of  the  companies  was  then  as  follows  : 

Prince  of  Wales's, 

No.  3. 

No.  3. 

No.  4. 

Lt.  Lord  Clive. 
2/Lt.  Crawford 

Capt.  Battye. 
Lt,  Copland- 

Capt.  Aldridge. 
Lt.  Rice. 

Capt.  Dene. 
Lt.  Insole. 

2/Lt.  De  Wiart. 

2/Lt.  Crawshay. 
2/Lt.  Kearton. 

2/Lt.  Pugh. 
2/Lt.  Goetz. 

Lt.  Hambrough, 
2/Lt.  Dudley 

Battalion  bombers  had  been  returned  from  headquar- 
ters to  their  companies  after  Laventie,  but  against  that 
companies  were  reduced  by  the  Propping  Company, 
commanded  up  to  this  date  by  Copland  Griffiths,  and 
now  taken  over  by  Arthur  Gibbs. 

Then  there  was  a  Tunnelling  Company  made  up  by 
men  from  each  battalion,  which  for  a  time  was  com- 
manded by  de  Wiart.  Also  there  w^ere  trench  mortars 
and  machine  guns  to  be  supplied  with  men. 

Snipers  were  becoming  observers,  and  Jimjack  Evans 
left  the  battaUon  and  went  to  brigade  as  O.C.  Observers. 

On  June  18th  the  battalion  took  over  from  the  2/Yorks 
and  Lanes  Regiment  and  the  8th  Bedford  Regiment. 
The  line  was  from  B17  to  D21,  and  there  were  two  com- 
panies in  support  at  Butt  7,  Vicar's  Lane,  The  Willows, 
and  La  Belle  Alliance  (which  was  also  headquarters). 

All  the  right  half  of  the  line  was  under  water  to  the 
knees,  and  the  trench  and  parapet  only  about  four  feet 

84  YPRES  [Chap.  VI 

higli.     The  left  was  a  straggling  bit  held  by  posts,  with 
no  inter-communication  by  day. 

From  the  start  casualties  were  heavy.  Batty e  was 
hit,  Cpl.  Lawrence  killed  (the  first  man  personally  re- 
cruited by  the  Commanding  Officer),  and  seven  men 

Copland  Griffiths  now  took  over  No.  2,  and  Kearton 
immediately  got  hit  (a  slight  head  wound) ,  but  a  few  days 
later,  June  24th,  Bagot  and  Evan  Thomas  joined  the 
battalion,  and  the  former  was  posted  to  No.  2  Company 
and  the  latter  to  No.  4. 

The  reason  for  these  casualties,  which  were  mostly 
from  rifle  and  machine-gun  fire,  was  the  state  of  the  front 
line  trenches.  It  was  possible  to  get  up  as  far  as  Turco 
Farm  under  cover,  and  then  a  choice  had  to  be  taken 
between  going  over  the  top  or  wading  through  a  trench 
up  to  the  waist  in  mud  and  water — and  this  in  the  month 
of  June !  From  the  High  Command  Redoubt  and 
Mortaldje  the  enemy  swept  the  whole  of  that  front  with 
machine-gun  fire  which  was  kept  up  all  through  the  night. 

In  the  day-time  he  could  see  the  slightest  movement. 
Two  men  were  hit  the  first  day  trying  to  pass  between 
two  posts  which  were  not  connected.  Sergt.  Mathias, 
who  scorned  bullets,  got  them  both  in  in  a  miraculous 
way,  as,  so  far  as  could  be  judged,  the  same  German 
machine  gunner  was  still  shooting. 

The  enemy  had  a  fine  position  in  the  High  Command 
Redoubt.  He  could  bring  all  he  wanted  right  up  with- 
out being  in  any  way  observed.  Even  from  Hill  Top 
Farm  (the  highest  point  we  held),  which  lay  on  the  right 
of  the  line  held  by  the  battalion,  and  slightly  to  the  rear, 
nothing  of  what  was  going  on  in  the  redoubt  could  be 
seen.  The  ground  was  level  and  fell  away  gently  from 
the  enemy  lines — an  excellent  field  for  his  machine  guns 
— and  he  had  light  trolley  rails  running  into  his  front 
line  system. 

Curiously  enough,  the  trolleys  used  to  betray  him.  He 
made  great  use  of  his  large  Minenwerfen  on  this  front, 
and  would  wheel  them  up  on  the  trolleys.  They  were 
very  powerful  things,  throwing  a  drum  containing  some 

June  1916]  MORTALDJE   SECTOR  85 

250  lb.  of  high  explosives,  and  they  would  absolutely 
destroy  any  trench.  Happily  they  could  be  seen  coming 
through  the  air — and  also  the  wheels  of  the  trolley 

The  brigadier  gave  very  definite  orders  to  the  artillery 
about  these  things.  When  the  creak  of  wheels  was  heard 
headquarters  was  promptly  warned,  and  the  suspected 
position  indicated.  If  it  w^as  dark  the  first  trailing  spark 
of  light  through  the  air  confirmed  the  suspicion,  and 
almost  before  the  bomb  exploded  a  request  for  retaliation 
was  through.  The  guns  would  then  fire  until  the 
"  Minnie  ''  had  ceased,  which  was  not  as  a  rule  very  long. 
The  same  policy  was  adopted  with  the  machine-gun  fire, 
and  with  success. 



On  June  21st  came  the  first  indication  of  aggression  from 
the  Guards  Division.  Up  to  this  time,  beyond  patrolling 
nothing  had  been  undertaken  against  the  enemy.  But 
it  was  getting  near  the  date  of  the  big  sunnner  offensive 
on  the  Somme,  and  it  was  desired  to  keep  as  many  of 
the  enemy  guns  at  Ypres  as  possible. 

On  all  the  front  there  was  no  more  irritating  point  in 
the  enemy  organisation  than  Mortaldje  Estaminet.  It 
jutted  out  to  between  sixty  and  seventy  yards  of  the 
British  front  line,  and  was  the  source  of  much  machine- 
gun  activity.  On  the  21st  the  Welsh  Guards  were  ordered 
to  prepare  a  minor  enterprise  against  this  organisation. 
The  Commanding  Officer'notes  :  "  From  orders  received 
the  enterprise  seems  more  than  a  minor  one — no  difhculty 
in  taking  it,  but,  to  my  mind,  considerable  big  job  con- 
solidating and  holding  it,"' 

There  was  nothing  to  be  seen  of  the  no  doubt  at  one 
time  welcome  estaminet — a  few  bricks  and  a  couple  of 
iron  girders,  with  their  twisted  ends  sticking  in  the  air, 
were  the  only  indications  of  the  cross-roads.  Though  it 
had  melted  into  the  general  landscape  of  brown  mud, 
broken  stakes,  and  wire,  there  was  just  sufficient  uneven- 
ness  in  the  ground  to  indicate  an  excellent  position  for 
a  machine  gun ;  but  it  was  below  the  general  German 

Crawford  Wood,  de  Wiart,  and  Sergt.  Gibbs  crawled 
about  the  outskirts,  but  the  enemy  were  very  watchful, 
and  they  were  unable  to  learn  much.  They  reported, 
however,  two  machine  guns. 


June,  1916]  MORTALDJE  RAID  87 

On  the  23rd  the  battalion  ^Yent  into  support  at  the 
Chateau  Trois  Tours,  Brielen,  where  there  were  most 
delightful  quarters.  The  chateau  was  untouched,  or 
nearly  so,  and  had  round  it  a  large  moat  where  the  men 
bathed  and  fished  (Sergt.-Major  Bland  was  very  good  at 
catching  eels). 

While  the  men  enjoyed  themselves  the  Commanding 
Officer  and  Humphrey  Dene,  now  second  in  command, 
thrashed  out  the  details  of  the  attack  on  Mortaldje. 

To  the  intense  satisfaction  of  the  Commanding  Officer 
he  found  that  the  brigadier  was  in  complete  agreement 
with  him  as  to  not  holding  a  trench  on  the  enemy  side 
of  Mortaldje,  and  the  brigadier  announced  that  he  had 
Major-Gen.  Feilding's  sanction  to  occupy  instead  a  new 
trench  to  be  made  just  in  front  of  the  existing  line,  and 
the  estaminet  would  be  denied  to  the  enemy  by  means 
of  two  saps  with  bombing  posts. 

The  first  difficulty  to  tackle  was  that  of  space,  of  room 
to  assemble  in.  The  trenches,  although  much  work  had 
been  done  on  them,  were  in  an  impossible  condition,  and 
the  approaches  to  them  worse  still.  Arthur  Gibbs  and 
his  proppers  were  told  to  improve  the  communications, 
and  the  2nd  BattaHon  Scots  Guards  undertook  the 
making  of  a  new  trench  just  in  front  of  our  old  line. 

Arthur  Gibbs  had  a  fearful  job.  Eound  Turco  Farm 
there  was  a  regular  marsh,  and  for  some  days  enormous 
parties  carried  down  quantities  of  T-shaped  frames  and 
hundreds  of  sheets  of  tin  to  try  and  make  some  sort  of  a 
gutter  through  this  marsh.  It  was,  however,  not  a 
success,  and  was  named  by  "  Broncho  "  Dene  "  What  a 
hope  cut !  "  the  official  name  being  "  Hope  Cut."'  This 
annoyed  Arthur  Gibbs  very  much,  as  he  had  put  in  some 
very  strenuous  hours  over  the  work. 

The  Scots  Guards  completed  their  trench  with  some 
few  casualties. 

It  wiU  be  as  weU  to  keep  in  mind  the  whole  of  the 
XIV  Corps'  operations.  The  Guards  Division  were  to 
undertake  the  following  : 

June  24^^.— Wire  cutting  and  bombardment  on  front 
of  1st  Guards  Brigade. 


88  YPRES  [Chap.  VII 

June  25th. — Digging  of  new  trench  by  3rd  Guards 
Brigade  between  Forward  Cottage  (New  Cot)  and 

June  27th. — Wire  cutting  and  bombardment  in  front 
of  1st  and  3rd  Guards  Brigades. 

June  2Sth. — Digging  a  new  trench  in  conjunction 
with  20  th  Division  between  Wieltje  and  Cross -roads 

July  1st. — Attack  on  Mortaldje  Estaminet  by  Welsh 

July  2nd. — Eaid  and  gas  discharge  by  2nd  Guards 

The  20th  Division  on  the  right  was  undertaking  the 
following  operations  at  the  same  time  : 

June  24:th. — Wire  cutting. 

June  25^A.— Raid  on  Salient  C29. 

June  26th. — Bombardment. 

Jmie  27th. — Wire  cutting. 

June  2Sth. — Bombardment. 

June  2Sth. — Digging  new  trench  from  Wieltje  to  Cross- 
roads Farm. 

June  29th. — Raid  opposite  Railway  Wood. 

June  SOth. — Bombardment. 

July  2?i6^.— Discharge  of  gas  and  smoke. 

It  will  be  seen  that  activity  throughout  the  entire 
period  was  above  normal. 

Without  going  into  details,  the  artillery  preparation  on 
the  High  Command  Redoubt,  and  the  trenches  which  in 
any  way  defended  Mortaldje  was  to  consist  of  :  20  rounds 
from  a  12-inch  howitzer,  130  rounds  from  6-inch  howit- 
zers, 200  rounds  from  4*5-inch  howitzers,  30  rounds  from 
60-pounders,  600  rounds  from  18-pounders,  and  big 
trench  mortars  were  to  fire  60  rounds  to  break  up  the 
wire  round  the  estaminet.  This  was,  of  course,  merely 
preparation,  and  does  not  include  the  covering  fire  for 
the  attack  itself. 

Humphrey  Dene  was  O.C.  attack,  which  was  to  be 
carried  out  by  No.  4  Company  under  Claud  Insole. 

The  details  of  the  attack  were  argued  out  and  practised 
at  the  Chateau  on  ground  marked  out  from  aeroplane 

June  1916]  ORDERS  FOR   RAID  89 

photographs.    And  finally  Humphrey  Dene  got  out  these 
operation  orders  ^  : 

"  1.  On  the  night  of  July  1/2,  at  11.15  p.m.,  No.  4 
Company,  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards,  will  capture  the 
Mortaldje  Estaminet  and  approaches  thereto. 

"2.  Object  of  attack.  To  turn  the  enemy  out  of  the 
estaminet  and  trench  to  the  north  thereof,  and  to  pre- 
vent the  future  use  of  same  by  them  for  observing  and 
offensive  purposes,  and  to  hold  same  for  our  observation 
and  possible  future  advance.  The  post  ^\dll  be  held  by 
two  bombing  posts,  the  position  of  which  will  be  decided 
after  its  capture. 

"3.  The  attack  will  be  prepared  and  assisted  by 
artillery,  trench  mortars,  and  Stokes  Guns.  On  the  day 
fixed  for  the  attack  the  artillery  will  bombard  and  knock 
in  the  three  communication  trenches  running  from  Ger- 
man line  to  Mortaldje  Estaminet.  The  artillery  will 
bombard  certain  selected  points  in  the  German  front 
line  and  second  line,  from  Canadian  Farm  to  the  road 
running  from  Turco  Farm  to  Chemins  Estaminet. 
An  artillery  barrage  will  commence  and  continue  during 
the  night  of  the  attack  round  front  of  the  Mortaldje 

"  4.  The  objective  of  the  attack  will  be  the  trench 
running  round  the  north  of  the  estaminet.  The  com- 
munication trenches  running  round  the  east  and  west 
sides  of  the  estaminet  will  be  blown  up  and  blocked  at 
C15c96  on  the  east  side,  and  at  ClScSIG  on  the  west 

"  During  the  operations  two  communication  trenches 
will  be  dug  from  one  or  two  selected  bombing  posts 
to  our  front  line  immediately  south  of  the  estaminet. 
The  number  and  position  of  these  posts  will  be  decided 
after  occupation  of  the  estaminet.  These  trenches  will 
be  wired  on  the  outside. 

**  5'.  No.  4  Company,  under  Capt.  Insole,  will  carry 
out  the  attack,  and  will  have  taken  up  positions  as  under 
by  11.5  p.m.  on  the  night  of  1/2  July  : 

1  Appendix  B  1. 

90  YPRES  [Chap.  VII 

"  Is^  Line. — No.  14  Platoon,  with  two  bombing  par- 
ties lying  down  in  front  of  our  new  front  line,  the 
bombers  on  the  flanks. 
**  2nd  Line. — No.  13  Platoon  standing  in  the  trench. 
*'  2>rd  Line. — No.  16  Platoon  and  part  of  No.  15 

Platoon  standing  in  SI  8  trench. 
"  The  Wiring  Party  will  stand  in  B17a  trench,  at 
the  angle  of  the  trench  to  the  right  of  No.  16 
"  The  1st  Line  will  be   under  Lieut.  H.  A.  Evan 
Thomas,  and  will  be  composed  as  under  : 
"  Centre.—Seigt.  Mathias  and  eight  men. 
"  Right  Flank  Bombing  Party.— Ci^l.  Thomas  and  seven 

"  Left  Flank  Bombing  Party. — Cpl.  Blake  and  seven 

"  Dress. — The  centre  party  full  equipment  less  pack  ; 
two  bandoliers  ;  water-bottle  to  be  filled  ;  each  man  to 
carry  a  wire-cutter,  which  will  be  attached  either  to  his 
person  or  his  rifle  ;  four  men  will  carry  six  bombs  each. 
"  Bombing  parties  will  dress  as  above,  except  that 
bandoliers  will  not  be  carried.  The  carriers,  with  rifles 
slung,  will  carry  two  nosebags  each  holding  ten  bombs, 
remainder  of  these  parties  will  each  carry  one  nosebag 
holding  ten  bombs,  mth  the  exception  of  the  N.C.O. 
and  the  two  bayonet  -men. 

"  The  2nd  Line  will  be  under  2/Lieut.  C.  H.  Dudley- 
Ward,  and  will  be  composed  as  under  : 

**  A  centre  party  of  Sergt.  Pottinger  and  twenty-one 
men,  and  on  either  flank  a  party,  which  will  be  composed 
of  one  man  carrying  a  roll  of  French  wire,  two  men  carry- 
ing spades,  and  one  man  carrying  explosives  for  the  right 
and  left  parties  respectively.  Two  men  of  the  56th  Com- 
pany R.E.  will  accompany  each  of  these  last  parties. 

"  The  3rd  Line  will  consist  of  No.  15  Platoon,  under 
Sergt.  Nicholson,  and  No.  16  Platoon,  under  Sergt.  Trott. 
Dress  as  for  other  parties,  except  that  each  man  will 
carry  a  spade  slung  over  his  shoulder. 

**  The  wiring  party  will  be  composed  of  sixteen  men, 
under  Sergt.  Hyam.   Six  men  will  carry  one  roll  of  French 

June  1916]  ORDERS  FOR  RAID  91 

wire  each,  nine  men  will  carry  two  posts,  screw,  long, 
each,  and  every  man  will  carry  two  staples  stuck  in  his 

"  All  men  will  carry  their  emergency  rations  in  the 

"6.  At  11.15  p.m.  the  1st  Line  will  advance  to  the 
trench  running  round  the  north  side  of  the  estaminet. 
The  four  men  with  bombs  will  be  detailed  to  drop  out 
at  the  estaminet,  to  deal  with  any  Huns  that  the  1st  Line 
may  have  passed  over,  and  to  bomb  possible  dugouts. 
Upon  entering  the  trench  the  right  bombing  party  wiU 
work  down  the  communication  trench  running  from  the 
right  or  east  side  of  the  estaminet,  and  will  advance  to 
a  point  ten  yards  beyond  the  entrance  to  a  small  sap 
which  runs  out  of  the  trench  on  the  right-hand  side 
towards  our  line.  The  party  will  then  commence  to 
block  the  trench,  and  when  the  carrying  party  comes  up 
will  blow  in  the  trench,  assisted  by  the  R-.E.,  retire  fifty 
yards,  mring  the  trench  behind  them,  and  hold  the  point 
until  a  permanent  bombing  post  is  selected. 

"  The  left  party  will  proceed  down  the  left  or  western 
communication  trench  as  far  as  a  point  five  yards  beyond 
the  junction  of  the  communication  trench  and  the  main 
trench.  They  will  then  proceed  as  for  the  right  party. 
When  the  1st  Line  have  reached  the  trench  running  round 
the  north  side  of  the  estaminet,  a  pre-arranged  signal 
will  be  given  for  the  2nd  Line  to  advance  to  this  trench. 
The  centre  party,  under  Sergt.  Pottinger,  will  reinforce 
the  1st  Line  in  the  trench,  the  working  parties  of  bombers 
on  the  flanks  and  the  two  R.E.  men  will  join  their  respec- 
tive parties  in  the  communication  trenches,  and  proceed 
with  the  demolition  of  these  trenches. 

"7.  As  soon  as  the  post  is  taken  the  prisoners,  if  any, 
wiU  be  taken  to  the  rear.  Two  bombing  posts  wall  be 
selected  to  secure  the  position,  and  communication 
trenches  dug  from  them  to  our  new  front  line.  These 
communications  will  be  wired  on  the  outsides.  This 
work  will  be  performed  by  men  of  15  and  16  Platoons 
in  reserve  in  L  and  Y  trench  (S18). 

"  The  platoon  holding  the  captured  German  trench  to 

92  YPRES  [Chap.  VII 

the  north  of  the  estaminet  will  reverse  or  destroy  it  at 
the  discretion  of  the  officer  in  charge.  The  wiring  party, 
under  Sergt.  Hyam,  will  be  sent  up  as  soon  as  advisable 
to  wire  the  front  and  flanks  of  the  new  bombing  posts. 

"8.  One  Lems  gun,  under  Pte.  Murray,  mil  remain 
in  support  in  our  front  line  at  C15c95.  The  second  Lewis 
Gun,  under  Pte.  Evans,  will  operate  under  direct  orders 
of  O.C.  No.  4  Company,  who,  if  he  considers  it  necessary, 
will  send  it  up  to  assist  in  holding  the  captured  position. 

"  9.  At  2.45  a.m.,  or  earher  if  considered  advisable  by 
O.C.  No.  4  Company,  the  company  will,  with  the  excep- 
tion of  the  two  bombing  posts,  retire  and  proceed  in  small 
parties  to  their  posts  at  Belle  Alliance  and  the  Willows. 
The  bombing  posts  will  remain  until  relieved. 

**  Each  post  will  be  supplied  with  ten  boxes  of  bombs, 
two  tins  of  water,  one  day's  rations,  30  Mills  adapter 
bombs,  and  a  sufficiency  of  tools. 

''  H.  Dene, 

Captain  O.C.  Attach, 

"  29/6/16." 

On  June  28th  the  battalion  left  the  Chateau  Trois 
Tours,  crossed  the  canal,  and  wended  their  way  up  the 
long  communication  trench  to  La  Belle  Alliance,  and  so 
to  the  front  line.  It  had  rained  the  night  before,  and  the 
communications  were  very  bad — and  not  improved  by 
Arthur  Gibbs  with  a  mass  of  men  and  material  about 
Turco  Farm. 

It  was  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  that  were  being 
relieved,  but  on  arriving  the  trench  was  found  to  be 
deserted — the  whole  garrison  being  out  digging  in  front. 
Howard,  of  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards,  worked  hard 
over  this  necessary  but  unpleasant  task,  and  it  was  all 
but  finished  that  night.  Crawford  Wood  and  a  party 
from  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  came  down  from 
Belle  Alliance  the  next  night  and  completed  the  work. 
As  he  was  going  back  again  towards  early  morning  the 
gallant,  cheery  Sergt.  Gibbs  was  killed  by  a  bullet — an 
unaimed  shot  fired  at  a  venture  into  the  darkness.  The 
following  written  at  the  time  is  of  interest : 

July  1916]        THE   RAID   ON  MORTALDJE  93 

**  June  SOth. — There  was  the  sound  of  fierce  gunning 
down  south  yesterday,  and  Dene  brought  us  the  news 
that  our  people  had  popped  the  parapet — the  result  we 
do  not  know.  There  was  also  a  small  raiding  affair  near 
us  last  night,  so  it  was  fairly  noisy.  A  lot  of  men  came 
up  to  work  in  the  trench ;  Bill  came  too,  and  was  inclined 
to  strafe  Claud  because  our  men  were  not  doing  enough 
work.  When  he  had  gone  Claud  murmured  a  complaint 
to  me  :  *  Bill  comes  up  here  just  as  it  is  dark  and  we  are 
detailing  the  men  to  work,  keeps  us  talking  for  an  hour, 
walks  us  up  and  down  the  twench  till  I'm  dog-tired,  and 
then  says,  "  Why  aren't  the  men  working  ?  "  Yewj  un- 
weasonable.  Jones,  bwing  me  a  pear,  or  some  fwuit.' 
"We  were  relieved  at  2  a.m.  and  went  to  Belle  Alliance. 
"  July  1st. — I  have  been  out  with  Dene,  crawling  on 
my  hands  and  knees,  to  get  a  view  of  our  bombardment 
for  to-night.  We  sat  in  a  hole  which  Jim  jack  had  rigged 
up  near  Hill  Top  Farm.  Up  to  now  the  artillery  have 
made  a  bit  of  a  mess  in  one  or  two  places,  but  you  really 
can't  see  much. 

"  July  2nd. — We  took  the  position  last  night,  but  all 
is  not  yet  well.  When  we  filed  into  our  places  in  the 
trench  all  was  deathly  quiet — much  too  quiet — and  lights 
were  going  up  in  a  jumpy  manner,  or  so  it  seemed  to  me, 
from  the  estaminet.  I  think  Evan  Thomas  started  to 
get  out  slightly  ahead  of  time,  which  was  to  be  one 
minute  before  the  artillery.  At  all  events,  they  were 
seen  immediately,  and  the  Huns  opened  fire  on  them. 
I  heard  Sergt.  Mathias  yell  out  *  Come  on,'  and  then  our 
guns  started  with  a  swish  and  a  roar,  and  I  don't  quite 
know  what  happened.  I  heard  afterwards  that  Evan 
Thomas,  Sergt.  Mathias,  Sergt.  Jellyman,  and  a  man 
called  Lock,  who  used  to  be  the  C.O.'s  serv^ant,  arrived 
far  ahead  of  the  rest.  The  Germans  fled,  though  one 
stayed  to  fire  point  blank  at  Lock,  who  was  killed.  Sergt. 
Mathias  had  fallen  into  a  shell-hole  and  lost  his  rifle,  so 
had  nothing  but  his  bare  hands,  Sergt.  Jellyman  was 
loaded  up  mth  odds  and  ends,  and  Evan  discharged  his 
revolver  to  no  purpose.  The  others  then  came  up  and 
chased  the  Huns  up  the  trench  to  the  right,  but  only 

94  YPRES  [Chap.  VII 

managed  to  catch  and  bayonet  two.  Meanwhile  Sergt. 
Jellyman  flashed  his  lamp,  which  was  the  signal  for  me 
to  start.  I  arrived  with  a  bunch  of  my  fellows  and  f outid 
men  lying  down  and  blazing  away  in  front  of  them. 
Pottinger  immediately  threw  himself  down  and  followed 
suit.  I  said,  '  What  the  blank  are  you  doing  ?  '  and 
with  some  difficulty,  owing  to  the  noise,  stopped  them. 
Then  Cpl.  Harris,  who  had  apparently  been  up  to  the 
right,  came  with  a  broad  grin,  and  told  me  the  enemy 
had  fled,  but  that  he  had  managed  to  stick  one  of  them. 
I  told  him  to  come  along  with  me  and  see  what  was  going 
on  on  the  left,  but  some  Engineers,  who  were  to  blow  up 
the  trench,  and  had  lost  themselves,  arrived  at  that 
moment  to  enquire  where  they  were  to  go,  and  while  I 
was  questioning  them  Harris  slipped  away.  I  took  the 
Engineers  with  me,  and  we  ran  on  to  the  left.  There  was 
no  sign  of  anybody,  and  we  soon  heard  a  hullabaloo  in 
front  of  us  and  came  on  Harris  and  a  Pte.  Jones  having 
an  argument  over  two  wretched  Huns,  who  were  scream- 
ing and  crouching  by  them,  with  their  hands  up  and 
yelling  '  Mercy '  in  a  hysterical,  panting  away.  Jones 
wished  to  bayonet  them,  and  Harris  was  hanging  on  to 
him  and  explaining  in  forcible  miner  language  that  they 

would  take  the back  as  prisoners.     I  sent  them 

back  with  Harris,  and  then  found  Jones  had  wandered  off 
up  the  trench  by  himself,  looking  for  more  Germans. 
When  we  came  up  to  him  he  was  plodding  along  in  a 
crouching  attitude,  and  his  bayonet  flashing  about  in 
front  of  him.  By  this  time  we  had  gone  about  100  yards 
up  the  trench,  which  was  not  a  good  one,  and  arrived 
at  a  deep  place  with  a  machine-gun  emplacement.  I 
told  the  Engineers  to  blow  it  up,  and  when  we  had 
made  a  thorough  mess  of  it  with  four  or  five  lumps  of 
gun-cotton  I  went  back  to  the  main  body,  and  arranged 
for  a  few  men  to  watch  this  left  trench,  which,  being 
shallow  for  a  considerable  way,  did  not  worry  me. 

"  At  the  heap  of  bricks  (the  estaminet) — and  there 
were  more  than  we  imagined — men  were  arriving  from 
our  own  trench  with  bombs,  wire,  spades,  and  wanting 
to  know  where  to  put  them.    The  noise  was  beyond 

July  1916]      THE   RAID   ON  MORTALDJE  95 

words.     The  Huns  had  started  knocking  the  stuffing  out 
of  our  front  line,  but  had  not  as  yet  found  us, 

"  I  established  a  dump  for  all  stores,  and  set  men  to 
work  making  a  bombing  post  behind  the  pile  of  bricks. 
Sergt.  Jellyman  and  about  twenty  men  were  beyond  this 
point  as  a  covering  party. 

"  On  the  right  I  found  Evan  and  Sergt.  Mathias  direct- 
ing the  blocking  work.  This  was  a  very  good  trench, 
quite  dry,  with  boards  down  and  beautifully  arranged 
sniping  and  bombing  posts. 

"  The  Huns  were  now  plastering  us  with  shrapnel 
and  H.E.  Men  were  strung  out  trying  to  dig  communica- 
tion trenches  to  our  front  line,  and  they  could  be  plainly 
seen  as  the  sky  was  bright  with  lights.  Claud  came 
over,  and  I  explained  the  situation  to  him.  As  there 
was  nothing  for  him  to  do  he  went  back.  Soon  after  I 
got  a  note  from  him  to  say  he  had  been  hit,  and  would 
I  take  charge  ?  The  men  were  doing  gallant  work,  but 
the  water-logged  condition  of  the  ground  was  against 
them.  Crawford  Wood  came  out  and  asked  if  he  could 
do  anything.     He  went  back  to  bring  up  more  \Nare. 

"  Little  Cpl.  James,  who  was  in  charge  of  the  wiring 
on  the  left,  came  up  and  told  me  his  last  man,  Yiggers, 
had  been  killed,  and  could  he  have  two  or  three  more 
men  !  He  had  used  up  all  his  wire.  My  orderly,  Cong- 
don,  was  hit  badly,  and  Lynch,  who  was  also  doing 
orderly,  got  one  through  the  arm,  but  said  nothing  about 
it.  I  got  a  whack  on  the  arm,  and  at  the  same  moment 
a  man  next  me  got  a  lump  of  shell  in  the  stomach. 

"  We  slaved  on  till  two  in  the  morning,  and  then  I 
withdrew  the  company,  leaving  two  posts  under  Cpls. 
Phillips  and  Thomas. 

"  The  getting  back  was  very  trpng,  I  had  to  go  last, 
and  the  men  seemed  an  interminable  time  crawling  back 
through  the  scrape  they  had  made.  Evan  Thomas  had 
gone  on  to  lead  the  way,  and  ]\Iathias  was  gathering  up 
wounded.  The  Huns  were  firing  at  us  from  all  direc- 
tions, and  the  gunners  told  me  afterwards  that  they  had 
located  five  field-gun  batteries  which  were  pounding  that 
small  bit  of  front. 



[Chap.  VII 

"  When  I  got  in  I  found  poor  little  Crawford  Wood 
had  been  killed  while  trying  to  bring  more  wire  out  to 
me — a  recklessly  brave  boy  and  a  dashing  platoon  leader. 
He  had  brains  too. 

"  I  explained  all  I  could  to  Clive,  and  then  hurried 
back  to  the  WiUows  mth  Mathias  to  arrange  for  more 
stretchers  to  be  sent  down.     Then  back  to  Belle  Alliance. 

"  Claud  has  a  bit  of  shell  in  his  foot.  I  saw  him  off 
with  a  long  cigar  in  his  mouth  and  a  broad  grin.  '  I 
shan't  be  back  for  a  vewy  long  time  after  this  !  '  he  said." 


As  the  Commanding  Officer  had  pointed  out,  it  was 
easy  to  take  the  place,  but  to  consolidate  and  hold  it 
was  a  different  matter.  Jimjack  Evans,  from  his  obser- 
vation post  near  Hill  Top  Farm,  500  yards  away, reported 
in  the  middle  of  the  engagement  the  long  Unes  of  Welsh- 
men calmly  digging  in  the  soft,  mashy,  pulpy  ground, 
with  shrapnel  bursting  over  them  and  high  explosive 
shells  in  their  very  midst. 

The  enemy  guns  quieted  down.  It  was  now  broad 
daylight.  Suddenly  a  disreputable  figure,  Pte.  Phillips, 
arrived  at  I-^a  Belle  Alliance,  and  said  the  enemy  were 

July  1916]        THE   RAID   ON   MORTALDJE  97 

attacking.  No  sounds  were  heard,  hut  Humphrey  Dene 
was  at  once  sent  down.  He  says  when  he  arrived  at  Y 
and  L  trench  (SI 8)  he  found  that  the  posts  had  been 
attacked,  but  had  repulsed  the  enemy.  He  sent  a  party 
to  strengthen  them,  but  only  one  man,  UUyat,  got  there, 
and  found  all  of  the  first  post  wounded.  Eventually 
Dene  got  some  bombs  to  the  post,  with  reinforcements, 
and  the  wounded  away.  The  communication  was  very 
bad — the  shallow  trench  which  had  been  made  was 
already  full  of  water,  and  had  also  been  knocked  about 
by  enemy  fire.  He  therefore  put  a  small  party  on  to 
try  to  improve  it.  The  enemy  field-guns  then  opened 
fire  with  shrapnel,  and  the  big  trench-destroying  Minen- 
werfer  was  brought  to  bear  on  the  unfortunate  posts, 
with  the  result  that  the  old  German  trench  was  flattened 
out  and  the  garrison  buried.  Cpl.  Thomas,  with  blood 
streaming  from  his  ears,  succeeded  in  getting  the  men 
out,  with  the  exception  of  one,  who  was  rescued  by  Cpl. 
Hough.  But  the  estaminet  was  untenable,  as  was  also 
most  of  our  own  front  line,  so  a  position  was  found  for  a 
Lewis  Gun  which  would  keep  the  enemy  out  of  any  shell- 
holes  around  the  estaminet  should  he  try  to  occupy  them. 

All  day  long  the  enemy  kept  up  a  trench-destroying 
bombardment  with  their  "  Minnie."  They  worked  on 
No.  2  Company  as  well,  up  to  D21  ;  in  the  end  Copland 
Grifiiths  had  the  greatest  difficulty  in  getting  cover  from 
view  for  his  men.  The  Germans  attempted  a  cutting- 
out  enterprise  against  one  of  his  posts,  and  attacked  it 
several  times  between  Minenwerfer  bombardments,  but 
Sergt.  Beazer,  in  command  of  it,  kept  his  men  together 
full  of  fight,  and  also,  what  was  harder,  kept  his  Lewis 
Gun  clean  and  drove  them  off  with  loss  each  time. 

During  the  evening  the  local  conditions  were  not  im- 
proved by  an  Irish  Guards*  raid  from  the  2nd  Brigade 
front  on  the  left,  and  Dene  was  not  able  to  do  anything 
till  11  p.m.  The  artillery  fire  finally  died  down,  and  he 
made  a  personal  reconnaissance.  He  found  nothing 
round  the  estaminet  but  enormous  craters,  and  was  only 
able  to  identify  it  by  a  few  bricks  and  a  sniper's  loophole. 
He  put  a  Lewis  Gun  in  one  crater  and  some  bombers  in 

98  YPRES  [Chap.  VII 

another,  and  told  Clive  to  get  out  a  working-party  to  dig 
some  sort  of  communication.  Clive  and  his  men  were 
nearly  dead  beat,  as  he  had  only  half  of  his  company 
with  him. 

About  3  a.m.  on  the  3rd  Dene  was  recalled  by  the 
Commanding  Officer.  That  night  Clive,  having  improved 
the  craters,  handed  them  over  to  the  Scots  Guards. 

Dirty,  tired,  and  reduced  by  ninety-six  casualties,  the 
battalion  returned  to  the  Chateau  Trois  Tours.  Clive 
looked  like  an  evil  tramp,  and  absolutely  beat  to  the 
world.  Jack  Crawshay  and  Copland  Griffiths  were  not 
so  tired,  but  were  filthy,  and  roaring  with  laughter, 
having  been  all  day  successfully  dodging  Minnies.  No- 
body moved  till  very  late  the  next  day.  Towards  the 
evening  there  was  an  inspection  of  the  ragged  mobs 
which  formed  the  two  front  line  companies.  There  were 
hardly  half  a  dozen  men  with  whole  suits.  Jackets  and 
trousers  were  torn  to  ribbons. 

Crawford  Wood  was  a  great  loss.  He  was  a  good- 
looking,  most  gallant  and  active  youngster,  aud  feared 
nothing  in  the  way  of  a  German  or  any  of  their  weapons. 
De  Wiart  was  blown  up  and  carried  away  insensible. 
He  did  not  recover  for  a  long  time.  Mick  Rowlette,  the 
cheery  doctor,  went  to  the  front  line  twice  through  the 
worst  spasms  of  shelling  and  looked  after  the  wounded. 
He  was  twice  hit  himself,  but  carried  on  till  all  was  over. 
He  was  deservedly  popular. 

The  prisoners  proved  to  be  from  the  238  Reserve  In- 
fantry Regiment,  52nd  Reserve  Division,  XXVI  Reserve 
Corps.  This  Division  held  the  line  from  Thourout  Rail- 
way to  a  point  slightly  north  of  Canadian  Farm  ;  this 
regiment  from  the  road  Turco  Farm — Five  Chemins 
Estaminet  to  the  left  of  their  line.  Mortaldje  Estaminet 
was  considered  by  the  enemy  as  an  important  point. 
His  plan  was  to  join  up  the  saps  with  the  existing  line 
and  form  a  new  front  line  in  this  sector  ;  work  was  being 
steadily  done  on  these  saps  with  a  view  to  this  end. 
Major-Gen.  v.  Waldorf  commanded  the  52nd  Reserve 
Division.  The  heavy  British  shelling,  according  to  these 
prisoners,  had  affected  the  moral  of  their  regiment. 

July  1916]         HONOURS  AWARDED  99 

The  men  had  a  canteen  at  the  Chateau,  and  Sergts. 
Trott,  Nicholson,  Jellyman,  Mathias,  Ashford,  Richards, 
Beazer,  and  many  more  could  be  heard  exchanging  their 
experiences  over  a  mess-tin  of  beer.  But  good  men  had 
made  the  final  sacrifice. 

But  it  was  not  a  period  of  rest,  and  the  companies  had 
to  find  heavy  fatigues  each  night  to  help  reconstruct  the 
battered  line,  although,  as  Allie  Boyd,  of  the  2nd  Scots 
Guards,  said,  while  wandering  round  amongst  confused 
heaps  and  holes,  "  I  am  not  looking  for  a  line — there  is 
none— but  somewhere  about  there  are  some  men  at  the 
bottom  of  shell-holes.'" 

On  July  6th  the  battalion  went  into  divisional  reserve 
at  the  camp  in  Wood  A30, 

On  Sunday,  July  9th,  Major-Gen.  Feilding  paid  a  visit 
to  the  battalion,  and,  after  congratulating  them  on  the 
work  done,  gave  ribbons  in  default  of  medals  to  Sergt. 
Mathias  for  the  D.C.M.  (this  was  for  bringing  men  in 
under  heavy  fire  some  days  previous  to  the  attack  on 
Mortaldje),  and  told  him  he  would  get  a  bar  for  the 
attack,  and  to  Sergts.  Bonar  and  Humphreys,  I./Cpls. 
Harris  and  Thomas,  Ptes.  West  and  W.  Jones  for  the 
Military  Medal.  At  the  same  time  Cpl.  James  was  told 
his  name  had  gone  forward  for  a  D.C.M. ,  and  well  he 
deserved  it ;  but  unfortunately  it  was  not  so  easy  to 
present  his  action  as  a  story  which  would  appeal  to  any- 
one who  had  not  been  there,  and  in  the  end  he  got  a 
Military  ]\Iedal,  as  did  Sergt.  Beazer.  However,  there 
was  to  be  a  parade  in  Paris  on  the  14th,  and  these  men 
left  with  others  to  attend  with  the  Guards  Divisional 
Contingent,  so  they  all  got  a  few  days'  holiday  and 
amusement.  The  party  consisted  of :  Lieut,  and  Adjt. 
J.  A.  D.  Perrins,  A/Sergt.-Major  W.  Bland,  No.  29  Sergt. 
Humphreys,  557  L/Cpl.  Bale,  1,245  L/Cpl.  Trott,  758 
Pte.West,  1,043  Pte.  Ulyatt,  21  Sergt.  Owen,  761  Sergt. 
Bonar,  196  Cpl.  Churm,  861  Pte.  Barker,  1,507  Pte. 
Walters,  59  Sergt.  Hammonds,  229  Cpl.  Thomas,  95  Pte. 
Buck,  278  Pte.  WiUiams,  492  L/Cpl.  Harris,  114  Sergt. 
Mathias,  613  L/Cpl.  James,  798  L/Cpl.  Thomas,  1,189 
Pte.  Jones. 

100  YPRES  [Chap.  VII 

Other  awards  granted  under  authority  from  the  King 
were — Humphrey  Dene  and  L.  M.  Eowlette  the  D.S.O.  ; 
G.  C.  L.  Insole  and  C.H.Dudley- Ward  the  Military  Cross. 

On  the  14th  the  battalion  was  back  in  the  canal  bank 
and  two  days  later  in  the  front  line.  This  tour  of  front- 
line duty  was  in  the  last  segment  of  the  salient,  to  the 
very  north  where  the  line  curved  round  into  the  canal. 
The  method  of  defence  was  peculiar.  The  front  line 
proper  seemed  to  stop  abruptly  opposite  Fortin  17,  where 
it  straggled  out  into  some  dangerous  and  isolated  bomb- 
ing posts.  Behind  this  came  a  line  in  echelon  to  the  left 
curving  round  to  the  canal.  Between  these  two  lines 
there  were  a  couple  of  posts  ;  but  the  whole  arrangement 
left  a  wide  bit  of  territory  over  which  anyone  might 
roam.  There  were  remnants  of  a  far  more  elaborate 
British  system,  linking  up  the  whole  of  the  sharp  curve 
in  the  salient,  but  it  had  been  found  impossible  to  hold 
it  owing  to  the  lowness  of  the  ground  and  the  consequently 
water-logged  condition  of  the  trenches.  An  effort  was 
being  made  to  drain  this  flat  expanse,  and  Engineers  were 
busy  with  a  deep  boxed  drain  running  roughly  from  the 
left  of  the  front  line — an  isolated  post  F30 — and  passing 
to  the  right  of  the  2nd  Line. 

The  Commanding  Officer  writes  all  the  time  that  he 
"  does  not  like  it."  But  the  difficulty  was  that,  until 
the  drain  was  completed  and  successful,  nothing  in  the 
way  of  trenches  in  the  abandoned  area  could  be  occupied 
after  a  little  rain.  In  any  case  the  sighting  of  new  trenches 
must  be  a  delicate  matter,  as,  whichever  way  they  were 
cut,  the  enemy  could  enfilade  them. 

There  was  very  little  wire,  too,  and  as  a  first  measure 
of  precaution  the  Commanding  Officer  set  about  wiring 
from  the  north  end  of  the  echeloned  trench  (York  Trench) 
to  F30,  and  then  proceeded  to  reclaim  those  parts  of  the 
old  front  line  which  could  be  linked  up  with  the  drain. 

The  work  which  was  going  on  in  this  sector,  together 
with  the  programme  of  raids  and  bombardments,  un- 
doubtedly worried  the  enemy.  He  bombarded  night 
and  day,  and  there  is  little  doubt  that  he  moved  very 
few,  if  any,  of  his  guns  down  south. 

July  1916]     SITUATION— LEFT  SECTOR  101 

Once  more  we  must  point  out  that  the  fierce  bom- 
barding, the  trench-digging,  the  series  of  raids,  all  de- 
signed to  force  the  enemy  to  an  artillery  battle,  besides 
killing  him,  were  part  of  a  far  bigger  movement — the 
battle  of  the  Somme  had  started.  It  would  not  be  such 
a  wild  stretch  of  imagination  to  say  that  the  Guards 
Division  first  took  part  in  the  battle  of  the  Somme  while 
they  were  at  Ypres.  They  were,  at  least,  preventing 
troops  and  guns  from  taking  part  in  that  battle. 

The  first  bombardment  on  the  Somme  had  started  on 
June  23rd,  and  the  attack  was  planned  to  take  place  on 
the  28th,  but,  owing  to  bad  weather,  was  put  off  till 
July  1st.  Of  the  six  corps  engaged  the  three  northern 
ones  had  failed  to  make  any  headway,  but  those  to  the 
south,  together  with  the  French,  had  broken  through 
some  fourteen  miles  of  German  lines,  and  were  fighting 
hard  to  improve  their  gains.  It  was,  therefore,  of  im- 
portance to  continue  the  threat  of  attack  at  Ypres,  even 
though  the  Germans  must  by  then  have  suspected  it  was 

Until  the  26th  the  battalion  held  this  line,  and  during 
the  whole  time  was  severely  shelled.  There  was  a  little 
bombing  scuffle  round  F30,  with  no  result,  but  the  enemy 
made  no  further  attempt  to  come  to  grips. 

Capt.  Ashton,  Rupert  Lewis,  Power,  Wernher,  Cazalet, 
and  ninety-five  other  ranks  joined  the  battalion  at  this 
period.  Rupert  Lewis  took  over  Xo.  4  and  Ashton  No.  2. 
Power  went  to  No.  4,  Wernher  to  the  Prince  of  Wales's, 
and  Cazalet  to  No.  3  Company. 

On  July  27th  the  battalion  left  the  Ypres  area,  march- 
ing from  the  camp  in  Wood  A30  to  the  light  railway  to 
the  north-east  of  Poperinghe,  and  entraining  in  two 
trains  for  Bolezeele.  From  that  place  they  marched  to 

It  is  due  to  the  transport  to  mention  that  they  accom- 
plished a  march  of  thirty- two  miles  in  the  day  to  join 
the  battalion  at  Watten.  This  is  no  mean  performance 
when  it  is  remembered  that  many  of  the  men  had  to 
walk,  and  some  take  turn  and  turn  about  pushing  Furbe 
stretchers  loaded  with  Lewis  Guns. 

102  YPRES  [Chap.  VII 

Lord  Lisburne  joined  tlie  battalion  on  the  journey, 
and  was  posted  to  No.  2  Company. 

This  move  was  the  first  towards  the  Somme  battle- 
field. Here  and  there  a  short  halt  of  two  or  three  days 
was  made — as  at  this  first  stop,  where  the  officers  and 
men  enjoyed  themselves  prodigiously  by  bathing  in  the 
canal,  and  where  the  half-clad  Clive  was  chased  by  an 
infuriated  old  dame  of  seventy  summers  for  undressing 
on  her  field  ;  but  if  any  indication  was  wanted  of  what 
was  happening,  it  was  given  by  the  Commanding  Officer 
when  he  warned  all  ranks  not  to  mention  any  changing 
of  billets  in  letters  written  home. 



The  situation  on  the  Western  Front  may  be  very  briefly 
summarised  by  saying  that  two  battles  were  in  progress 
— the  one  at  Verdun,  which  had  started  in  February,  the 
other  on  the  Somme,  which  started  on  July  1st.  The 
enemy  had  made  certain  gains  round  Verdun,  though 
the  fortress  still  held ;  the  French  losses  were  great, 
but  the  German  at  least  a  third  greater. 

The  July  1st  attack  had  been  over  a  front  of  about 
twenty-eight  miles,  but  on  the  northern  part  of  it,  about 
the  river  Ancre,  had  come  swiftly  to  a  standstill.  From 
Fricourt  to  the  south,  however,  it  still  raged,  with  give 
and  take  fiercely  contested.  The  general  attack  had 
changed  to  smaller,  but  no  less  bloody,  engagements, 
with  limited  objectives.  These  battles  were  generally 
fought  for  woods  and  villages — there  were  Mametz  Wood, 
the  two  Bazentin  Woods,  Bernafay  Wood,  Trones  Wood, 
Delville  Wood,  and,  later.  High  AVood. 

Local  fighting  went  on  for  a  month  before,  at  the  end 
of  August,  Delville  Wood  was  in  British  hands.  The 
first  attack  on  Guillemont  was  launched  on  July  23rd,  a 
date  to  be  borne  in  mind.  The  first  attack  on  Pozieres 
was  on  July  22nd,  and  the  matter  was  only  finally  settled 
on  August  4th.  The  fierce  attacks  on  High  Wood  lasted 
three  weeks. 

There  is  no  doubt  that  the  German  infantry  at  that 
time  was  stubborn,  and  the  big  advance  on  a  twenty-mile 
front  and  more  was  not  repeated  after  July  1st,  but  the 
capture  of  definite  areas  was  carried  on  slowly,  on  a 

8  103 

104  WATTEN  [Chap.  VIII 

restricted  front,  and  accompanied  by  tremendous  bom- 
bardments from  both  sides.  Each  in  itself  was  a  battle, 
but  the  whole  series  must  be  considered  as  one. 

Little  of  all  this  was  known  at  Watten.  Orders  were 
of  the  briefest  and  given  at  the  last  moment.  At  1  a.m. 
on  July  30th  the  battalion  started  on  a  fifteen- mile  march 
to  Bavinchove — the  station  at  which  they  detrained 
when  moving  from  Calais.  From  here  they  proceeded 
by  train  at  6.30  a.m.  to  Frevent — crossing  the  path  of 
their  march  from  the  Hohenzollern  Redoubt  to  Allou- 
agne.  Arriving  at  Frevent  at  11  a.m.,  they  marched  at 
once  for  Halloy.  It  was  a  fearfully  hot  day,  and  the 
Commanding  Officer  decided  not  to  push  right  through, 
so  a  halt  was  called  in  a  wood  near  Bouquemaison,  where 
they  rested  under  the  trees  from  2  till  6  p.m.,  with  the 
result  that  the  battalion  marched  into  Halloy  present  to 
a  man.  They  had  marched  a  total  of  twenty- six  miles, 
with  a  very  tiring  journey  in  an  overcrowded  train  to 
split  the  distance  in  half. 

The  next  move  was  to  Bus  les  Artois,  where  the 
battalion  stayed  from  August  1st  to  6th,  and  from  there 
to  Arqueves  till  the  9tli. 

There  is  nothing  of  interest  to  record  of  these  journeys, 
or  of  the  halts.  At  Bus  les  Artois  there  was  a  battalion 
mess,  but  all  was  so  arranged  by  this  time — nearly  a 
year's  experience  in  France — that  the  comforts  of  both 
officers  and  men,  so  far  as  comforts  could  be  obtained, 
were  enjoyed  and  arranged  for  whatever  the  resources 
of  village  or  camp  might  be.  There  was  no  necessity  to 
fuss  because  of  a  sudden  intimation  on  arrival  at  new 
billets  that  no  battalion  mess  could  be  found.  Sergt. 
Marshall,  the  "  Universal  Provider  "  of  the  battalion, 
issued  food  to  company  cooks,  and  in  a  very  short  time 
food  was  ready  if  wanted.  The  office  of  Mess  President 
had  by  this  time  devolved  on  the  second  in  command. 

On  the  subject  of  cooks  much  could  be  written. 
Goodman,  of  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  was  prob- 
ably the  best,  at  least  he  was  thought  so  by  Arthur  Gibbs 
and  Bob  Bonsor,  both  gourmets  ;  but  this  was  at  a  much 
later  period.    Geoff ries,  of  No.  3,  and  Thomas,  of  No.  4, 

Aug.  1916]  OFFICERS'   COOKS  105 

were  at  this  time  the  best-known  characters.  Geoffries 
was  a  man  of  many  qualities,  but  no  one  could  tell  why 
or  how  he  became  a  cook.  Aldridge  declared  that  he 
found  him  in  the  kitchen,  a  self-constituted  cook  ;  how 
he  got  there  Aldridge  never  dared  enquire — he  just  came. 
But  he  always  seemed  to  have  food  ready  at  a  moment's 
notice,  and  some  of  it  was  well  treated.  Thomas,  on  the 
other  hand,  had  started  as  a  cook  in  the  battalion  mess, 
but  had  been  found  extravagant.  He  passed  rapidly  to 
No.  4.  There  never  was  a  more  devoted  servant  than 
Thomas,  but  the  culinary  art  he  acquired  had  not  the 
lightness  of  touch  which  gives  distinction  to  great  artists, 
which  raises  them  from  scullions  to  escofpers,  which  gives 
them  the  name  of  "  genius,"  while  they  pass  their  own 
patronymic  to  a  sauce.  He  was  known  to  be  in  active 
correspondence  vdih  the  chef  of  a  Cardiff  club,  and  had 
been  seen  taking  lessons  in  the  mysteries  of  omelette- 
making  from  a  fat  lady  at  Wormhoudt.  But  who  taught 
him  to  make  what  he  called  "  rimsoles,''  and  why  he 
boiled  a  galantine  of  chicken  were  two  of  those  unsolved 
questions  which  disturb  the  soul  of  man. 

On  August  9th  the  battalion  departed  hurriedly  for 
Mailly-Maillet — the  Commanding  Officer  and  Company 
Commanders  went  in  motor-buses  to  see  the  new  line 
they  were  to  take  over  ;  Humphrey  Dene  marched  the 
battalion  from  Arqueves. 

The  line  was  between  Beaumont  Hamel  and  Serre,  the 
front  attacked  by  the  29th,  4th,  and  31st  Divisions  on 
July  1st.  The  Welsh  Guards  were  to  be  opposite  a  strong 
position  known  as  the  Quadrilateral  (how  many  Quadri- 
laterals were  there  ?— and  what  an  ominous  name  it 
seems  to  have  been !).  As  usual  the  front  line  was  down 
in  a  hollow,  but  the  support  lines  were  well  up  and  wdth 
good  observation. 

The  troops  which  so  successfully  resisted  our  onslaught 
on  July  1st  were  of  the  XIV  Corps,  under  Lieut. -Gen.  v. 
Stein.  The  frontage  of  this  corps  was  from  just  below 
Monchy  au  Bois  to  Fricourt.  The  northern  sector  was 
held  by  the  52nd  Division,  the  centre  by  the  26th  Reserve 
Division,  and  the  southern  by  the  28th  Division.    As  a 


result  of  the  July  fighting,  the  28th  Reserve  Division, 
which  held  from  Thiepval  to  Fricourt,  was  exhausted, 
and  a  new  division  took  its  place.  But  it  was  believed 
that  the  26th  Reserve  and  the  52nd  Divisions  were  still 
in  the  line  on  a  somewhat  reduced  front. 

This  XIV  Corps,  now  opposite  our  XIV  Corps,  was  a 
mixed  formation,  nominally  raised  in  Baden,  but  con- 
taining also  Wiirtemburgers,  Prussians  and  Alsatians. 
It  was,  however,  a  good  fighting  corps,  as  the  British 
VIII  Corps  had  very  good  reason  to  know  ;  but  its  atti- 
tude since  that  big  fight  had  been  exceptionally  passive, 
particularly  in  the  matter  of  patrolling  and  sniping.  The 
Welsh  Guards  were  believed  to  be  opposed  by  the  I21st 
Reserve  Infantry  Regiment,  recruited  from  Wiirtemburg. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  despite  the  evil  reputation  of  the 
line,  Mailly-Maillet  was  at  that  time  a  charming  little 
town,  with  delightful  orchards  and  gardens  round  it,  and 
was  very  little  knocked  about — but  no  one  liked  it.  The 
battalion  stayed  there  one  night,  and  then  moved  into 
the  line,  relieving  the  1  I/Lancashire  Fusiliers — the  Prince 
of  Wales's  on  the  right,  with  No.  3  in  support,  and  No.  2 
on  the  left,  with  No.  4  in  support. 

There  was  a  lot  of  artillery  between  Mailly-Maillet  and 
the  line,  and  it  did  not  seem  as  though  many  guns  had 
been  moved  after  the  abortive  attack.  The  Guards 
Divisional  Artillery  was  up  too,  and  Topping,  an  old 
friend  of  the  battalion,  had  his  field-battery  in  a  very 
exposed  position.  As  the  battalion  marched  to  the 
**  Line,"  he  was  observed  engaged  in  a  duel  with  some 
enemy  4"2  "  Hows."  After  each  salvo  from  the  4.2 
battery — and  they  were  making  good  practice — Topping, 
perched  on  the  top  of  a  mound,  would  yell  out  orders, 
and  his  battery  would  loose  off  hard  for  a  minute  or  so. 
A  gallant  fellow  was  Topping,  and  also  his  subaltern,  who 
was  of  course  known  only  by  the  name  of  Spindler. 

The  most  conspicuous  object  on  the  right  of  the  line 
was  the  huge  mound  that  marked  the  crater  of  a  monster 
mine  fired  on  July  1st.  The  noted  stronghold  of  Serre 
on  the  left  was  less  conspicuous  ;  but,  with  the  idea  of 
an  advance  in  mind,  and  possible  danger-points  to  be 

Aug.  1916]  BEAUMONT   HAMEL  107 

encountered,  the  eye  was  immediately  attracted  to  the 
innocent-looking  left,  and  the  imagination  pictured  the 
German  machine  gunner  squatting  somewhere  near  the 
top  of  that  flat,  gentle  rise,  and  letting  of!  a  stream  of 
low-flying  bullets — when  once  his  gun  was  set  he  could 
traverse  the  whole  of  that  front. 

The  support  lines  and  the  communication  trenches 
showed  what  a  tremendous  lot  of  work  had  been  done 
prior  to  the  attack  ;  and  they  were  very  little  knocked 
about.  But  the  front  line  system  was  absolutely  flat. 
At  best  the  line  was  indicated  by  bits  of  shallow,  wide- 
open  ditch,  but  mostly  it  was  mounds  and  shell-holes, 
broken  bits  of  wood  and  splintered  rifles,  quantities  of 
torn  equipment,  and  the  half-decomposed  dead.  On  a 
dark  night  you  could  smell  your  way  into  the  front 

Patrols  reported  quantities  of  dead  in  No  Man's  Land, 
and  companies  buried  scores  found  in  their  own  front 
trenches.  Altogether  no  one  liked  this  line,  although  it 
was  a  good  one. 

The  enemy  was  very  active  with  small  trench-mortars, 
and  he  had  a  method  of  firing  these  which  was  new  to 
the  battalion :  he  would  fire  a  volley  of  them  followed 
by  an  irregular  stream.  The  first  time  he  did  this  trick 
he  raised  a  report  that  a  German  bombing  party  was  in 
the  trench.  Sergt.  Ashford,  of  the  Prince  of  Wales's 
Company,  gathered  together  three  or  four  men,  and,  some 
boxes  of  bombs,  and  hurried  to  the  spot,  but  found  no 
Germans,  although  one  of  their  "Minnies"  had  killed 
two  men  and  wounded  three  others.  This  was  reported 
to  Clive  as  an  attack,  and  he  hearing,  as  he  thought, 
bombing  going  on  in  his  front  line,  told  Eddy  Bagot  to 
send  up  the  S.O.S.,  and  went  to  see  what  was  happening. 
At  battalion  headquarters  the  sentry  reported  the  S.O.S., 
and  Humphrey  Dene,  rushing  out  of  the  dugout,  was 
knocked  back  again  by  a  rocket  whizzing  in  front  of  his 
nose.  Picking  himself  up,  he  discovered  Sergt.-Major 
Bland  cursing  all  rockets,  and  those  who  had  invented 
them,  and  explaining  that  one  of  the  rockets  had  pre- 
ferred a  horizontal  course  to  a  vertical  one.    But  before 

108  THE  MARCH   TO  MERICOURT     [Chap.  VIII 

the  guns  had  started  a  telephone  message  came  through 
to  say  it  was  all  an  error. 

The  battalion  was  relieved  by  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots 
Guards  on  August  14th  and  went  into  a  variety  of  rest- 
huts,  ruins,  and  trenches  round  Collincamps.  Major 
Bromfield,  D.S.O.,  joined,  and  took  over  the  Prince  of 
Wales's  Company  from  Clive;  2/Lieut.  Hebert  also 
joined,  and  was  posted  to  No.  4. 

On  the  17th  the  battalion  went  in  the  line  again,  and 
were  relieved  by  the  17th  Royal  Fusiliers  on  the  19th. 
During  this  last  tour  of  duty  the  Commanding  Officer  lost 
his  invaluable  orderly.  Beck,  who  was  fatally  wounded 
while  standing  by  hisi  side  in  the  front  line. 

The  experience  in  the  Beaumont  Hamel  sector  con- 
sisted entirely  of  burying  dead  and  clearing  out  old 
trenches,  and  recollection  of  the  line  is  generally  an  im- 
pression of  unpleasantness.  There  is,  however,  one 
curious  fact  to  be  noticed:  it  was  in  the  Beaumont  Hamel 
line  that  the  battalion  first  came  across  anything  in  the 
nature  of  underground  dugouts.  Deep  dugouts  were  in 
process  of  construction,  and  shafts  had  been  sunk,  in 
some  cases,  too,  the  commencement  of  a  gallery. 

The  novel  situation  stirred  battalion  headquarters  to 
the  issuing  of  special  instructions.  The  corporals  on  duty 
were  "  not  to  enter  dugouts  '' ;  the  sergeant  on  duty  was 
"  forbidden  to  enter  a  dugout '' ;  sentry  groups  were  to 
remain  as  close  to  the  sentries  as  possible  and  "  not  to 
enter  dugouts.'" 

The  total  casualties  at  Beaumont  Hamel  were  twenty- 

The  battalion  returned  to  their  old  camp  at  Bus  les 
Artois,  and  on  August  20th  to  Vauchelles  les  Authies ; 
from  thence  to  Gezaincourt  on  the  22nd  (the  men  were 
able  to  visit  the  estaminets  of  Doullens  and  the  officers 
to  dine  at  the  Trois  Fils  Inn),  and  to  Vignacourt  on  the 

This  ended  the  marching  for  some  time,  as  the  last 
stage  of  the  journey  to  Mericourt  I'Abbe  was  made  on 
the  25  th  by  train. 

The  division  was  now  in  position  behind  the  battle  of 

Aug.  1916]  MERICOURT  L'ABBE  109 

the  Somme.  Mericoiirt  is  on  tlie  River  Ancre,  a  few 
miles  to  the  east  of  the  junction  of  that  river  with  the 
Somme,  and  about  twelve  miles  behind  the  front  line. 

Kearton  rejoined  on  the  day  the  battalion  arrived  at 
Mericourt,  and  the  officers  then  were  : — 

Prince  of  Wales's  Ooy.  No.  2  Coy.  No.  3  Coy.  No.  4.  Coy. 

Major  Bromfield.  Capt.  Ashton.  Capt.  Aldridge.  Capt.R.W.  Lewis. 
Capt.  Lord  Clive.     Lieut.  Lord  Lis-     2/Lieut.  Fox-  Lieut.  Rice. 

bume.  Pitt. 

2/Lieut.  Pugh.         Lieut.  Evan  2/Lieut.  J.  Craw-    Lieut.  Power. 

Thomas.  shay. 

2/Lieut.  Bagot.        2/Lieut.  Goetz.      2/Lieut.  Cazalet.    2/Lieut.  Dudley 

2/Lieut.  Wemher.   2/Lieut.  Dickens.  2/Lieut.  Kearton.  2/Lieut.  Hebert. 
2/Lieut.  Gibbs  with 

Also  while  at  Mericourt  *'  Mick  "  Rowlette  returned  as 
medical  officer.  Lees,  an  Edinburgh  man,  had  been  act- 
ing for  him,  and  had  now  to  return  to  the  Field  Ambu- 
lance ;  but  he  was  eventually  posted  to  the  2nd  Battalion 
Irish  Gruards,and  won  a  1917  for  great  gallantry 
at  Ypres.    A  most  energetic  and  fearless  fellow  was  Lees. 

The  battalion  was  accommodated  in  a  large  farm  in  the 
centre  of  the  village,  with  the  exception  of  one  platoon 
and  a  few  officers.  But  billets  were  good,  and  the 
situation  of  Mericourt  very  pleasant  both  for  training 
and  amusement. 

The  training  took  the  direction  of  open  fighting  ;  there 
were  several  battalion  field-days  and  one  brigade  day. 
On  the  whole  the  training  was  not  too  successful,  as  the 
country  was  much  cut  up  with  growing  crops,  and  no  one 
was  allowed  to  cross  them  ;  it  resulted  in  the  troops  pass- 
ing these  obstacles  by  going  in  file  round  the  sides  of 
them,  a  proceeding  which  destroyed  all  possible  realism. 

For  recreation  there  was  the  river  Ancre  to  bathe  in, 
and  company  sports  were  held,  also  a  concert. 

Concerts  by  the  battalion  always  caused  a  lot  of 
amusement.  There  were  some  good  "  turns."  Sergt. 
Price,  the  orderly  room  sergeant,  was  an  artist  of  no 
mean  merit,  and  used  to  do  lightning  sketches  of  various 
Welsh  Guardsmen,  accompanied  by  some  funny  "  pat- 


ter  "  ;  C.Q.M.S.  Eendall  sang  soulful  songs  in  a  soulful 
baritone  voice  ;  Drill-Sergt.  Dunkley  was  a  popular 
favourite  with  "  Old  King  Cole  '' ;  Sergt. -Major  Bland 
did  not  perhaps  give  the  pathetic  expression  required  to 
*'  A  Broken  Doll,"  but  it  was  the  only  song  he  knew ; 
and  Sergt.  "  Bob  ''  Richards  used  to  recite  "  Mad  Carew  " 
with  much  dramatic  expression ;  and  there  was  always 
a  choir. 

And  while  these  things  were  going  on  the  sound  of  the 
battle  was  being  continually  wafted  to  the  ears  of  the 
battalion,  and  all  night  the  flash  of  the  guns  could  be 
seen  lighting  up  the  whole  of  the  distant  horizon. 

Guillemont,  which  had  been  attacked  for  the  first  time 
on  July  23rd,  at  last  fell  to  the  20th  Division  of  the 
XIV  Corps  on  September  3rd.  Ginchy  on  the  left  of  it 
was  attacked  by  the  XV  Corps  on  the  3rd  and  4th  with- 
out success. 



On  September  7th  the  battalion  moved,  and  from  that 
day  until  the  morning  of  the  9th  were  billeted  in  the 
small  village  of  Ville  sur  Ancre.  It  is  interesting  in  view 
of  future  events  to  note  that  the  Commanding  Officer 
practised  the  battalion  in  an  outpost  scheme  and  night 

On  the  8tli  the  Commanding  Officer  was  given  some 
idea  of  what  he  would  be  expected  to  do.  The  XIV 
Corps  now  consisted  of  the  Guards,  the  20th,  the  6th, 
the  56th,  the  16th,  and  the  5th  Divisions.  The  5th  and 
20th  had  been  engaged  from  September  3rd  in  the  cap- 
ture of  Guillemont,  and  an  advance  in  the  direction  of 
Leuze  Wood,  the  left  flank  of  the  corps  being  south  of 
Ginchy.  On  the  evening  of  the  4th  the  16th  Division 
relieved  the  20th  on  the  left,  and  during  the  night  7th/8th 
took  over  the  line  opposite  Ginchy  from  the  7th  Division, 
XV  Corps. 

On  the  9th  the  16th  Division,  with  the  56th  on  their 
right  (they  had  relieved  the  5th  Division),  were  to  attack 
in  conjunction  with  the  XV  Corps.  The  Welsh  Guards 
would  relieve  the  left  brigade  of  the  16th  Division  when 
it  had  captured  Ginchy. 

The  Commanding  Officer  notes  in  the  diary  of 
September  8th  that,  although  the  left  brigade  was  said 
to  be  a  weak  one,  he  does  not  think  the  relief  "  will  be  a 

At  9  a.m.  on  September  9th  the  battalion  marched  to 
Carnoi.  The  roads  were  much  congested,  but,  as  the 
ground  was  hard,  the  infantry  were  able  to  take  a  parallel 


112  THE   SOieiE  [Chap.  IX 

course  by  the  fields.  Interest  in  the  animated  scene  was 
added  to  by  the  accumulation  of  guns,  which  was  enor- 
mous— they  were  in  clumps  and  in  rows.  At  Carnoi  a 
halt  was  called,  and  the  battalion  stayed  on  the  side  of 
a  hill,  where  dinners,  and  later  teas,  were  served. 

Packs  on  this  occasion  were  carried  up  by  lorries  and 
dumped  with  the  transport  near  a  place  called  the 

The  Commanding  Officer  then  went  to  Bernafay  Wood 
to  see  the  Brigadier  of  the  49th  Brigade,  who  was  appar- 
ently in  command  of  the  48th,  and  arrange  details  for 
taking  over  the  line  that  night  from  the  48th  Brigade. 
The  intention  had  been  for  the  battalion  to  stay  in  Carnoi 
until  the  result  of  the  attack  was  known,  but  the  briga- 
dier asked  that  the  relieving  troops  might  be  moved  up 
at  once.  At  8  p.m.  the  battalion  left  for  Ginchy,  with 
two  days'  rations. 

The  officers  who  went  in  were  : 

Headquarters. — Lieut.-Col.  Murray  Threipland,  D.S.O., 
Adjt.  Lieut.  J.  A.  D.  Perrins,  Asst.-Adjt.  J.  W.  L. 

Prince  of  Wales's  Company. — Major  Bromfield,  D.S.O., 
2/Lieut.  Pugh,  2/Lieut.  Bagot,  2/Lieut.  Wernher. 

No.  2  Company. — Capt.  Ashton,  2/Lieut.  Dickens, 
2/Lieut.  Goetz. 

No.  3  Company. — 2/Lieut.  Fox-Pitt,  2/Lieut.  Cazalet, 
2/Lieut.  Kearton. 

No.  4  Company.— Qdi-^i.  E.  W.  Lewis,  M.C.,  Lieut. 
Power,  2/Lieut.  Hebert. 

2/Lieut.  Gibbs  with  the  Proppers. 

Aldridge  was  ill,  and  had  gone  to  Boulogne  a  few  days 
before,  and  Evan  Thomas  was  also  sick.  Dene,  Clive, 
Lisburne,  and  Dudley  Ward  were  left  behind  with  the 

Guides  met  the  battalion  at  Bernafay  Wood,  and  led 
companies  via  Guillemont  to  Ginchy. 

The  orders  were  that  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company 
and  No.  2  Company  should  take  over  from  the  48th 
Brigade  a  line  on  the  north  of  Ginchy  and  facing  north- 
east.   No.  3  Company  was  to  move  in  on  the  left,  and 

Sept.  1916] 



fill  up  the  gap  between  No.  2  and  tlie  XV  Corps.  The 
4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  were  to  come  in  on  the 
right  of  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  and  take  over 
a  line  facing  due  east  from  the  47th  Brigade.^ 

The  night  w^as  very  dark,  and  on  arriving  at  Ginchy 

500  1000 

The  Positions  round  Ginchy. 

much  rifle-fire  was  encountered  :    also  as  the  platoons 
were  being  led  through  the  ruins  of  that  place  they  came 
across  small  parties  of  Germans,  who,  however,  surren- 
dered at  once. 
About  midnight  the  48th  Brigade  commenced  to  file 

*  Appendix  B  3. 

114  THE   SOMME  [Chap.  IX 

past  the  Welsli  Guards  H.Q.,  which  were  on  the  outskirts 
of  Guillemont,  and  a  message  arrived  from  Ashton  : 
"  Have  taken  over  line — in  places  it  is  farther  back  than 
we  thought.  We  took  a  lot  of  German  prisoners,  which 
went  down  with  the  relieved  troops — herewith  two 

This  was  followed  by  a  message  timed  3.30  a.m.  from 
Bromiield  :  "  Have  consolidated  position  T13bl04  to 
T13b65'.  Unable  to  get  in  touch  with  the  4th  Grenadiers 
on  my  right,  so  have  had  to  throw  back  right  flank  while 
I  have  been  engaged  with  the  enemy.'' 

In  order  to  follow  what  happened  it  is  as  well  to  know 
where  the  companies  actually  were,  rather  than  where 
they  were  imagined  to  be.  Instead  of  facing  north-east, 
which  was  the  general  direction  of  the  enemy,  they  actu- 
ally faced  north-west ;  they  had  taken  over  from  the 
48th  Brigade  a  line  along  the  outskirts  of  the  wood  at 
that  end  of  Ginchy.  Bromfield  gives  the  position  of  his 
right  with  accuracy  ;  his  left  too  far  forward.  This  was 
shown  by  an  examination  of  the  ground  some  days  later. 

It  must  also  be  borne  in  mind  that  Bromiield,  arriving 
on  the  heels  of  an  attack,  did  not  know  what  had  hap- 
pened. The  situation  on  either  flanlc  of  the  48th  Brigade 
was  that  no  advance  had  been  made.  No.  3  Company, 
under  Fox-Pitt,  was  able  to  get  connection  with  the 
XV  Corps  troops,  but  no  doubt  this  would  pull  the 
left  of  the  Welsh  Guards'  line  back.  The  4th  Battalion 
Grenadiers  were  trying  to  relieve  the  47th  Brigade,  but 
could  not  locate  it,  and  there  was  no  one  on  Bromfield's 

All  through  the  night  Bromfield  made  exhaustive 
efforts  to  get  in  touch  with  the  4th  Battalion  Grenadier 
Guards,  but  found  nothing  but  Germans,  who  fired  and 
disappeared  in  the  darkness,  though  a  few  were  caught. 
No.  2  Company  also  rounded  up  a  few  small  parties  on 
their  front. 

It  was  a  misty  dawn,  and  at  7  o'clock  there  was  very 
little  light.  Very  rightly,  Bromfield  was  still  anxious 
about  his  flank,  and  had  sent  yet  another  patrol  to  try 
and  get  in  touch  with  someone.    Actually  Sergt.  Ashford, 

Sept.  1916]  GINCHY  115 

in  command  of  this  patrol,  had  found  troops :  a  mixed 
company  of  some  seventy  men  of  the  48  th  Brigade,  under 
a  gallant  young  officer  who  had  been  shot  through  the 
neck,  but,  although  he  couldn't  talk,  was  still  active  and 
eager ;  these  troops  were  in  a  trench  near  the  sunken 
road  on  the  east  of  the  village.  Sergt.  Ashford  had  just 
returned  to  the  right  of  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company, 
and  was  making  his  report  there  to  Bromfield,  when  the 
enemy  attacked  from  the  north-east. 

It  was  a  strong  attack,  and  Bromfield  seems  to  have 
realised  that  he  would  be  enveloped,  for  he  gave  an  order 
to  the  right  of  his  company  to  fall  back  into  the  wood. 
This  they  proceeded  to  do,  but  the  enemy's  left  swept 
round  into  the  wood,  and  hand-to-hand  fighting  ensued. 
Nos.  2  and  3  Companies  were  able  to  fire  across  the  front 
of  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  and  the  right  of  the 
German  attack  melted  away  ;  but  tjie  situation  was  very 

This  news  was  brought  to  the  Commanding  Officer 
about  10  o'clock  by  Dickens,  who  was  wounded  in  the 
head,  but  he  had  already  heard  of  an  attack  from  Lieut. - 
Col.  Monck  Mason,  of  the  Eoyal  Munster  Fusiliers,  who 
was  in  touch  with  the  mixed  company  of  troops  of  the 
48th  Brigade  (he  asked,  too,  to  be  relieved,  as  his  men 
were  without  food  or  water),  and  had  sent  half  of  No.  4 
Company  to  get  in  the  gap  between  the  48th  Brigade  and 
the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company.  This  half  company, 
however,  became  engaged  in  the  trees  just  past  the 

More  than  this  he  could  not  do,  as  the  enemy  was 
reported  to  be  on  the  south-east  of  Ginchy,  and  on  the 
right  of  the  48th  Brigade  troops.  To  meet  any  attack 
from  this  quarter  he  had  half  of  No.  4  Company  in  hand. 

The  lodgment  the  enemy  had  gained  in  the  wood  made 
it  very  hard  for  Ashton  to  find  out  exactly  what  had 
happened  on  his  right.  Fighting  was  continuous.  The 
ground  immediately  behind  his  company  was  clear,  and 
he  knew  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  was  still  fighting 
on  his  right,  on  the  other  side  of  the  road  through  Ginchy. 
Just  before  midday  the  young  officer  in  charge  of  the 

116  THE  SOMME  [Chap.  IX 

48th  Brigade  troops  observed  another  enemy  force,  which 
he  estimated  at  a  battalion,  advancing  through  the  mist, 
and  undoubtedly  he  did  much  to  help  break  up  this 
second  attack.  But  more  of  the  enemy  reached  the 
wood,  and  Ashton  sent  Goetz  for  reinforcements.  Goetz 
returned  with  Power  and  the  other  half  of  No.  4,  they 
being  made  up  to  seventy  rifles  by  men  from  a  Grenadier 
carrying  party,  which  had  arrived  at  Battalion  H.Q., 
and  had  been  retained  by  the  Commanding  Officer  as  a 
further  reserve. 

Meanwhile  Capt.  N.  M.  Vaughan  had  reported  at 
Battalion  H.Q.  with  No.  3  Company,  1st  Battalion 
Grenadier  Guards,  and  had  been  ordered  to  relieve  the 
48th  Brigade  troops.  This  he  did  at  12.30  p.m.,  but  the 
situation  there  was  not  good,  as  his  left  platoon  shared 
a  trench  with  the  enemy,  and  there  was  no  one  on  his 

The  critical  nature  of  the  situation  does  not  seem  to 
have  been  quite  clear  to  the  enemy,  who  twice  attacked 
Vaughan  with  fury,  but  he  beat  them  off,  and  at  3.30  p.m. 
was  able  to  report  his  trench  and  immediate  front  clear. 

Slowly  Ashton  was  getting  news  of  his  right.  Brom- 
field,  Bagot,  Wernher  were  killed,  and  Pugh  had  been 
carried  out  by  Sergt.  Ashford  with  a  broken  leg.  A  few 
of  the  men  of  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  had  joined 
No.  2 — others  were  still  in  the  shell-holes  over  the  road, 
and  Sergt.  Nicholson  and  a  few  men  had  joined  the  half 
of  No.  4  near  the  church. 

With  the  arrival  of  Power  and  the  other  half  of  No.  4 
Company,  Ashton  determined  to  try  and  cross  the  road, 
and  drive  the  enemy  from  the  eastern  side  of  it.  The 
task  was  given  to  Power,  who  tried  to  rush  the  road  and 
was  at  once  killed. 

It  must  be  understood  that  this  wood  was  a  mass  of 
deep  shell-holes — it  had  been  bombarded  by  the  British 
heavy  guns  for  some  weeks — and  there  were  heaps  of 
brick  from  the  demolished  houses  by  the  side  of  the  road, 
and  large  heaps  of  earth  from  German  dugouts ;  there 
were  fallen  trees,  too,  and  a  great  number  of  standing 
ones.    It  was  a  confused  jumble,  and  the  men  taking 

Sept.  1916]  GINCHY  117 

cover  in  one  shell-hole  could  not  possibly  tell  if  anyone 
was  in  the  next,  or  if  it  was  friend  or  foe. 

The  situation  after  the  second  German  attack,  and 
soon  after  midday,  seems  to  have  been  that  Vaughan, 
with  his  company  of  1st  Battalion  Grenadiers,  had  taken 
over  the  trench  about  150  yards  to  the  east  of  the 
village,  but  the  enemy  was  in  the  northern  end  of  it, 
and  was  being  bombed  out ;  half  of  No.  4  Company 
was  in  the  village  on  the  east  of  the  road,  and  about 
50  to  100  yards  north  of  the  ruins  of  the  church ;  the 
other  half  of  No.  4  was  on  the  left  of  the  road  and  facing 
east ;  Nos.  2  and  3  Companies  held  their  original 
trenches.  The  enemy  was  in  the  trench  from  which  the 
Prince  of  Wales's  Company  had  tried  to  get  back  into 
the  wood,  and  the  north-east  end  of  the  wood  was  occu- 
pied by  a  number  of  the  enemy  and  a  few  of  the  Prince 
of  Wales's  men.  There  was  also  a  belief,  which  seems 
to  be  well  founded,  that  some  of  the  enemy,  who  had 
been  hiding  in  dugouts  in  the  village,  had  once  more 
taken  up  their  arms — runners  passing  on  the  western 
side  of  the  village  were  being  picked  ofl:  in  an  unaccount- 
able way,  and  men  trying  to  move  from  one  shell-hole 
to  another  were  being  shot  in  the  back. 

Ashton  now  tried  to  bomb  his  way  forward  with  rifle- 
cup  adaptors.  He  gained  a  little  ground,  and  reoccupied 
the  end  of  the  old  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  trench, 
but  it  was  not  an  enviable  position,  as  the  enemy  were 
in  shell-holes  on  either  side  of  it. 

The  losses  in  N.C.O.'s  was  very  heavy — four  well- 
known  figures,  Sergt.  "  Bob  "  Eichards,  Sergt.  Williams, 
Sergt.  G.  Davies,  and  Sergt.  Jellyman  were  killed  in 
gallant  attempts  to  clear  the  enemy  out. 

All  the  fighting  was  so  close  that  the  artillery  could  do 
very  little  to  assist.  They  searched  all  the  ground  out- 
side the  wood,  but  could  do  nothing  with  the  wood  itself. 
German  fire,  however,  which  had  been  directed  against 
the  southern  half  of  the  village,  was  in  the  afternoon 
directed  to  the  northern  half  ;  this  was  the  first  indica- 
tion that  they  had  given  up  hope  of  retaking  the  place. 

As  the  day  wore  on  the  situation  improved  in  other 

118  THE  SOMME  [Chap.  IX 

ways  ;  fifty  men  of  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  were 
sent  to  Ashton  with  100  boxes  of  bombs,  and  remained 
as  reinforcements.  Two  more  companies  of  the  1st 
Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  reported  at  headquarters 
about  four  in  the  afternoon,  but  were  held  back  till  night ; 
and  at  10  p.m.  two  companies  of  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots 
Guards  arrived. 

With  the  night  there  was  further  improvement,  and 
the  Germans  began  to  surrender  in  small  groups.  At 
11.30  p.m.  Capt.  Drury  Lowe,  with  the  King's  Company 
1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards,  filled  up  the  gap  on 
Vaughan's  left ;  Capt.  Jack  Stirling,  with  G  Company 
2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards,  came  in  on  King's  Company's 
left,  and  cleared  the  eastern  side  of  the  Ginchy  road ; 
Capt.  Fisher  Rowe,  No.  4  Company  1st  Battalion  Grena- 
dier Guards,  relieved  No.  2  Company  Welsh  Guards ; 
and  Left  Flank  Company  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards 
relieved  Fox-Pitt  and  his  company.  Two  companies 
1st  Battalion  Irish  Guards  also  reported,  and  were  put 
in  position  in  support  north-east  of  Guillemont.  The 
Welsh  Guards  went  into  reserve  trenches  north-west  of 

Bromfield  had  a  very  difficult  task.  It  was  the  first 
time  he  had  been  in  action  in  the  war,  the  night  was  dark, 
the  attack  by  the  16th  Division  had  only  just  taken 
place  and  no  one  knew  rightly  what  the  situation  was  : 
the  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  were  led  to  the 
wrong  line,  somewhere  on  the  east  of  Guillemont ;  the 
47th  Brigade  seemed  to  have  gained  their  first  objective, 
but  after  that  lost  direction  and  really  made  no  pro- 
gress ;  the  XV  Corps  attack  had  failed  ;  and  finally  the 
repeated  German  attacks  were  strong  and  determined. 

Eddy  Bagot  died  gallantly  by  the  side  of  Bromfield  ; 
Power  as  he  was  leading  his  men ;  Cazalet  was  killed 
by  a  shell ;  Wernher  was  hit  first  in  the  leg,  and  was 
being  carried  out,  when  a  sniper  killed  him.  Pugh, 
Dickens  and  Hebert  were  hit  in  the  fight ;  Evan  Thomas 
and  Rice  as  they  were  going  up  to  the  line  with  officer 

With  all  the  officers  of  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company 

Sept.  1916]  GALLANT  ACTIONS  119 

out  of  action,  Sergt.  Ashford  took  command  of  what  was 
left  and  kept  the  remnant  together — fighting  until  the 
battalion  was  relieved.  He  also  undoubtedly  saved 
PugVs  life.  Ptes.  1,037  F.  Aspinall,  423  J.  R.  Evans, 
and  1,360  D.  J.  Evans  were  conspicuous  for  their 
gallantry  in  rescuing  wounded. 

It  is  not  possible  to  see  every  brave  act,  but  the 
following  names  are  recorded :  648  L/Cpl.  J.  Crumb, 
980  L/Cpl.  W.  Thomas,  1,095  L/Cpl.  Henry  Barber, 
Ptes.  2,307  H.  Burch,  791  F.  Cantwell,  350  Sergt.  H. 
Hunt,  278  L/Cpl.  H.  WilHams,  1,869  J.  Broom,  456  W. 
T.  Turner,  1,250  G.  Taylor,  892  T.  Williams,  21  Sergt. 
S.  Owen,  558  Sergt.  W.  Morgan,  194  Sergt.  G.  W. 

As  an  example  of  endurance  and  determination,  we 
need  only  mention  the  action  of  L/Cpl.  C.  L.  Glover,  one 
of  the  cheeriest  and  best-hearted  fighters  that  ever  lived. 
He  was  blown  up  and  sent  to  the  dressing-station  ap- 
parently stone  deaf  and  terribly  shaken  ;  but  when  he 
arrived  at  the  dressing-station  he  found  his  hearing  re- 
turning, although  his  nerves  were  still  twitching  so  that 
he  could  not  keep  his  hands  quiet.  It  was,  however,  a 
sufficient  recovery  for  Glover,  who,  still  twitching  and 
shaky,  returned  to  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  and 
carried  on  as  acting  company  sergeant-major. 

As  to  how  the  men  fought  in  the  hand-to-hand  fight- 
ing, they  used  their  bayonets  with  great  eliect.  1,656 
Pte.  William  Williams  was  seen  to  dispose  of  several  of 
the  enemy,  until  with  a  furious  thrust  he  completely 
transfixed  a  German  and  was  unable  to  free  his  bayonet. 
He  knocked  another  down  wath  his  fists,  and  seized 
yet  another  by  the  throat,  when  they  both  fell  into  a 
shell-hole.  More  Germans  rushed  up,  and  the  gallant 
Williams  did  not  rise  again. 

The  total  casualties  were  205. 

September  11th  was  a  quiet  day  ;  Ginchy  yielded  from 
its  hidden  and  half-destroyed  dugouts  more  prisoners, 
but  the  enemy  contented  himself  with  long-range  bom- 
bardment with  heavy  guns,  and  made  no  further  effort 
to  regain  the  village.    In  the  evening  the  Welsh  Guards 


120  THE   SOMME  [Chap.  IX 

moved  to  Bernafay  Wood,  and  the  next  morning  marched 
to  a  camp  in  what  was  known  as  Happy  Valley,  not  far 
from  Fricourt. 

The  weather  had  now  broken  up,  and  it  began  to  rain 
hard.  The  battalion  rested  and  refitted  in  this  camp  as 
far  as  was  possible.  A  draft  of  180  men  arrived  from  the 
Entrenching  Battalion  (an  organisation  of  the  division 
which  was  kept  up  to  work  on  roads  and  supply  drafts 
to  the  various  regiments,  and  which  had  its  H.Q.  in  that 

At  6  p.m.  on  the  14th  the  Commanding  Officer  at- 
tended a  conference  at  the  Brigade  H.Q.,  and  went  over 
the  details  of  the  divisional  attack  to  take  place  the 
next  day. 

The  15th  was  to  be  a  big  day.  The  idea  was  that 
the  Fourth  Army  should  capture  Morval,  Les  Boeufs, 
Gueudecourt  and  Flers,  that  the  Reserve  Army  should 
attack  on  the  north  and  the  French  on  the  south.  The 
Guards  Division  were  to  take  Les  Boeufs,  and  would 
have  the  6th  Division  on  their  right  and  the  14th 
Division,  XV  Corps,  on  their  left. 

The  Guards  Division  were  to  attack  with  the  2nd 
Brigade  on  the  right  and  the  1st  on  the  left ;  the  3rd 
Brigade  in  support. 

The  advance  was  to  be  in  three  bounds,  with  a  slight 
complication,  a  swing  to  the  right,  to  give  a  change  of 
front  for  the  1st  Brigade  after  the  first  bound.  Each 
bound  was  roughly  1,200  yards. 

The  day  will  be  remembered  as  the  first  battle  in 
which  tanlcs  took  part.  The  division  was  to  have  ten 
— one  on  the  left  flank  of  the  1st  Brigade  and  the  other 
nine  in  three  columns.  They  were  to  start  from  their 
positions  forty  minutes  before  zero,  and  were  timed  to 
reach  their  first  objective  five  minutes  before  the  infantry. 

Some  of  these  weird  inventions  were  parked  near  the 
camp  in  Happy  Valley,  and  moved  off  to  selected 
positions  on  the  14th,  watched  by  a  wondering  crowd 
of  British  and  French  soldiers.  They  created  some 
excitement  and  a  great  deal  of  amusement.  The 
French    soldiers    did   not   think   much   of   them,   but 

Sept.  1916]  THE  FIRST  ATTACK  121 

agreed  that  in  this  coming  battle  they  would  be  good — 
"  Vous  comptez  sur  la  surprise !  " 

On  the  night  of  the  14th  the  battalion  moved  from 
Happy  Valley  to  trenches  west  of  Trones  Wood.  It  was 
raining  most  of  the  time. 

The  1st  and  2nd  Brigades  attacked  at  6.20  a.m.,  and 
we  must  lay  particular  stress  on  the  following  points  : 
the  forming-up  ground  and  the  situation  on  either  flank. 

To  form  up  in  a  restricted  area  like  Ginchy,  and  extend 
to  either  flank  as  the  advance  progresses,  is  a  most  diffi- 
cult operation.  The  general  line  of  the  attack  was  north- 
east, but  to  the  north-west  of  Ginchy,  just  below  Delville 
Wood,  there  were  two  trenches  called  Ale  Alley  and 
Hop  Alley,  and  some  part  of  these,  or  a  post  near  them, 
was  in  the  possession  of  enemy  machine  gunners ;  in 
other  words,  when  the  1st  Brigade  started,  they  were 
immediately  enfiladed  from  the  left.  Due  east  of  Ginchy, 
in  the  6th  Division  area,  was  a  strong  fortification  known 
as  the  Quadrilateral,  in  a  position  to  enfilade  the  2nd 
Brigade  from  the  right.  These  two  points  were  to  be 
dealt  with  by  the  new  tanks,  but  in  each  case  the  tanks 
failed  to  put  in  an  appearance. 

The  enemy  fought  with  desperation.  The  two  Guards 
Brigades,  debouching  from  the  trees  and  ruins  of  Ginchy, 
came  immediately  under  a  withering  machine-gun  fire. 
The  first  objective  was  taken,  but  the  assaulting  troops 
were  disorganised  and  the  casualties  enormous.  They 
stayed  where  they  were.  The  14th  Division  then  came 
up  on  the  left,  but  with  a  gap  between  them  and  the 
Guards  Division ;  but  the  Quadrilateral  defeated  the  6th 
Division,  which  failed  to  advance  ;  in  fact,  the  place  was 
not  taken  until  the  18th.  So  nothing  more  was  done 
that  day. 

Being  warned  that  he  would  have  to  attack  the  next 
morning,  Lieut.-Col.  Murray  Threipland  moved  the 
battalion  slightly  nearer  to  Ginchy,  and  in  the  evening 
sent  forward  to  find  out  if  there  was  any  forming-up 
ground  with  cover.  Every  trench,  however,  was  occu- 

At  1  a.m.  on  the  16th  orders  were  given  that  the  1st 

122  THE  SOMME  [Chap.  IX 

Battalion  Grenadier  and  the  Welsh  Guards  would  attack 
the  original  second  objective,  in  conjunction  with  the 
61st  Brigade  on  the  right.  It  was  a  continuation  of  the 
previous  plan  of  attack,  the  61st  Brigade  taking  the 
place  of  the  2nd  Guards  Brigade.  The  hour  was  to  be 
9.30  a.m. 

But  local  conditions  were  so  bad  they  could  not  be 
surmounted  so  easily.  Orders  arrived  in  pulp,  a  solid 
sheet  of  rain  fell  all  night,  and  communication  was  fearful. 
The  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  and  2nd  Battalion  Scots 
Guards,  who  were  in  immediate  support  to  the  1st  and 
2nd  Brigades,  occupied  the  only  possible  trenches  on  the 
long  forward  slope  where  the  attacking  troops  had  to 
assemble.  There  was  no  time  to  dig  others.  And,  rather 
than  have  daylight  find  the  battalion  in  this  unenviable 
position,  the  Commanding  Officer,  having  tramped  about 
vainly  in  all  directions  seeking  non-existing  trenches, 
ordered  the  companies  back  to  Ginchy.  The  3rd  Brigade 
H.Q.,  however,  confirmed  the  previous  orders  for  attack, 
and  soon  after  midday  the  attack  started,  with  the  1st 
Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  on  the  right  and  the  Welsh 
Guards  on  the  left — they  advanced  from  behind  the 
position  occupied  by  the  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards. 

No.  3  Company  was  in  reserve,  and  the  attack  was 
carried  out  by  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  on  the 
right  and  No.  2  on  the  left,  each  on  a  two  platoon  front- 
age ;  No.  4  was  in  support.^  But  the  engagement  was 
a  repetition  of  the  day  before.  Casualties  were  heavy — 
Clive  was  hit,  and  Ashton.  The  advance  had  to  be  made 
in  sectional  rushes,  and  the  assaulting  troops  got  into 
standing  crops,  where  they  lost  direction,  and,  mistaking 
Gueudecourt  for  Les  Boeufs,  swung  round  to  the  left. 
When  this  mistake  was  discovered  they  were  in  close 
touch  with  the  enemy  on  the  line  of  the  Flers — Les  Boeufs 
Road,  and  decided  to  dig  in. 

The  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  then  came  up  and 
got  connection  on  the  right  and  the  3rd  Coldstream 
Guards  on  the  left.  The  line  was  then  some  200  yards 
short  of  the  second  objective. 

^  Appendix  B  4  and  5. 

Sept.  1916]  CARNOI  VALLEY  123 

There  were  some  good  men  who  fell  that  day — old 
heroes  of  Mortaldje  ;  Sergt.  Pottinger,  Cpl.  James,  and 
Pte.  W.  Jones  were  killed,  and  723  Cpl.  James  Jones, 
after  leading  his  platoon  forward  in  an  exceptional  man- 
ner, was  badly  wounded,  to  mention  only  a  few  where 
so  many  should  be  immortalised.  It  was  all  hard  and 
confused  fighting. 

That  night  the  line  was  relieved  by  the  20th  Division. 
The  total  casualties  were  144. 

The  weather  conditions  continued  to  be  very  bad,  and 
the  area  allotted  for  the  few  days'  rest  was  on  the  slope 
of  a  hill  near  Carnoi.  In  the  valley  was  a  line  of  9 "2 
howitzers,  and  on  the  opposite  slope  were  cavalry  lines, 
the  horses  being  knee-deep  in  mud  ;  but  the  worst  feature 
of  the  place  was  a  well  with  unlimited  water,  and  all  the 
transport  for  miles  came  and  watered  their  horses  in  the 
Carnoi  Valley.  Such  few  trenches  as  existed  were  rivers 
draining  the  high  ground ;  the  high  ground  itself  was 
sodden  and  wind-swept.  The  battalion  remained  in  this 
spot  till  the  20th,  when  they  moved  to  Trones  Wood. 
But  the  exposure  and  cold  had  aflected  the  Commanding 
Officer,  who  had  spent  the  five  days  of  the  last  action  for 
the  most  part  in  shell-holes,  and  he  had  to  remain  at  the 
transport  lines  too  ill  to  go  into  another  fight ;  Humphrey 
Dene  took  command  of  the  battalion. 

Companies  were  now  getting  very  weak  :  the  Prince 
of  Wales's,  under  Arthur  Gibbs,  was  52  strong  ;  No.  2, 
with  Lisburne  and  Goetz,  just  under  100  ;  No.  3,  with 
Aldridge  and  Kearton,  near  150  ;  and  No.  4,  with  Lewis, 
not  100.  The  reserve  of  officers  was  Fox-Pitt  and 
Dudley  Ward. 

In  Trones  Wood  conditions  were  decidedly  better  than 
at  Carnoi ;  there  were  a  few  dugouts,  and  shelters  could 
be  found  in  a  jumble  of  trees  and  trenches.  The  21st  was 
spent  in  carrying  for  the  R.E. 

On  the  22nd  the  battalion  relieved  the  4th  Battalion 
Grenadier  and  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  on  the 
left  of  the  line,  the  position  of  companies  being,  in  order 
from  the  right,  No.  3,  Prince  of  Wales's,  No.  4,  No.  2. 

Lisburne  and  his  company  were  working  all  night 

124  THE   SOINCVIE  [Chap.  IX 

digging  a  trench  to  connect  up  with  the  King's  Own 
Yorkshire  Light  Infantry  on  his  left.  He  had  a  covering 
party  out,  and  during  the  night  the  K.O. Y.L.I,  bombed 
an  enemy  sap  on  Gas  Alley  to  such  effect  that  the  Ger- 
mans bolted.  Some  fifty  returned  to  the  attack,  but 
unfortunately  for  them  came  under  the  fire  of  Lisburne's 
covering  party,  which  did  great  execution  with  a  Lewis 

The  division  were  to  attack  on  the  23rd,  but  at  the  last 
moment  the  attack  was  postponed.  The  day  passed 
quietly,  and  in  the  evening  patrols  from  No.  2,  under 
Goetz,  and  some  from  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company 
went  out  and  remained  in  touch  with  the  enemy  all 
night ;  there  was  no  indication  of  any  retirement,  but 
only  of  extreme  watchfulness,  bombs  being  thrown, 
accompanied  by  jumpy  rifle-fire,  from  every  point  ap- 

The  25th  was  fixed  for  the  day  of  attack,  and  on  the 
night  of  the  24th  the  leading  assault  troops  relieved  the 
battalion  in  the  front  line. 

The  battle  line  of  the  division  was  the  1st  Brigade  on 
the  right,  with  the  2nd  Battalion  Grenadier  and  the  1st 
Battalion  Irish  Guards  leading,  and  the  two  Coldstream 
battalions  in  support,  and  the  3rd  Brigade  on  the  left, 
with  two  companies  of  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  and  the 
4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  leading,  and  the  1st 
Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  and  Welsh  Guards  in 

The  advance  was  to  be  in  three  bounds,  known  as  the 
Green,  the  Brown,  and  the  Blue  Lines — the  green  being 
Needle  Trench,  the  brown  the  outskirts  of  Les  Bceufs, 
and  the  blue  the  far  side  of  Les  Boeufs.  The  6th  Division 
was  on  the  right  and  the  21st  on  the  left. 

The  3rd  Brigade  plan  of  attack  was  that  the  2nd 
Battalion  Scots  and  the  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards 
should  go  to  the  Brown  line ;  and  when  that  was  cap- 
tured the  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  would  go 
through  and  take  the  Blue  line,  the  Scots  Guards  looking 
after  their  right  flank  and  the  4th  Battalion  Grenadiers 
their  left.    Two  companies  of  the  Welsh  Guards  were 

Sept.  1916]       THE   SECOND  ATTACK  125 

to  move  into  the  left  of  the  Green  line  and  two  remain 
in  rear  of  the  left  flank.  ^ 

The  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  and  the  2nd  Battalion 
Scots  Guards  formed  up  in  the  X  and  Y  Lines,  the  1st 
Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  in  the  Z  Line,  and  the  Welsh 
Guards  in  Gas  Trench  and  Switch  Trench  (T7  and  8). 

A  long,  steady  bombardment  of  the  German  positions 
was  being  carried  on — it  had  started  on  the  23rd — and 
on  the  night  of  the  24th  the  enemy  retaliated  heavily 
on  Gas  and  Switch  Trenches,  and  managed  to  get  some 
direct  hits,  causing  casualties. 

At  12.35  p.m.  on  the  25th  the  British  shrapnel  barrage 
came  down  and  crept  forward  at  the  rate  of  fifty  yards 
a  minute.  By  three  o'clock  the  1st  Battalion  Grenadier 
Guards  were  on  the  far  side  of  Les  Boeufs,  and  Nos.  3 
and  4  Companies  Welsh  Guards  had  moved  up  to  the 
Green  Line  to  consolidate.  But  the  21st  Division  had 
not  come  up  on  the  left,  and  the  whole  of  the  left  flank 
of  the  XIV  Corps  was  exposed.  The  Green  Line  was  the 
main  German  Line,  Gird  and  Needle  Trenches  (the  former 
being  a  continuation  of  the  latter),  and  the  enemy  still 
held  Gird  Trench  and  part  of  Needle  Trench,  in  the  21st 
Division  area,  in  force.  Humplirey  Dene  was  ordered 
to  make  good  this  flank. 

There  was  much  machine-gun  fire  and  heavy  shelling, 
but  Dene  started  off  in  his  impetuous  way  with  the  Prince 
of  Wales's  Company  and  No.  2,  and  rushed  them  over 
the  open,  shell-pounded  country,  to  Gas  Alley,  where 
they  had  to  get  in  the  trench.  Arthur  Gibbs,  in  answer 
to  Dene's  repeated  "  Come  on,  Arthur — can't  you 
move  ?  "  arrived  in  a  state  of  collapse,  his  round  face 
pouring  with  perspiration,  his  eyeglasses  dimmed,  and 
his  lungs  working  like  wheezing  bellows.  There  was 
great  difficulty  in  getting  along,  as  the  trench  was  found 
to  be  full  of  wounded ;  but,  as  they  penetrated  farther, 
it  became  out  of  the  question  to  go  over  the  top,  as  the 
machine-gun  fire  was  stronger  than  ever.  Eventually 
the  Green  Line  was  reached,  and,  taking  advantage  of 
every  shell-hole  and  bit  of  bank  by  the  roadside,  a  flank 

1  Appendix  B  6. 

126  THE   SOIiOIE  [Chap.  IX 

was  formed  from  the  Green  Line  to  the  north  of  Les 

It  was  a  mixed  force  Dene  commanded  in  making  this 
flank  ;  it  consisted  of  fifty  details  of  the  62nd  Brigade 
who  had  come  up  by  themselves,  one  small  company  of 
the  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards,  numbering  forty 
men,  under  2/Lieut.  C.  Keith,  No.  4,  Prince  of  Wales's 
and  No.  2  Companies  Welsh  Guards,  with  No.  3  in  sup- 
port in  Needle  Trench,  three  machine  guns,  and  the  3rd 
Brigade  Trench  Mortar  Battery. 

It  looked  as  though  there  might  be  trouble  from  Needle 
Trench,  as  there  were  some  400  of  the  enemy  and  machine 
guns  holding  a  strong  point  in  that  trench  close  to  the 
junction  with  Gas  Alley.  But  at  6  p.m.  a  company  of 
the  1st  Battalion  Scots  Guards  came  up  with  water  and 
ammunition,  and  Dene  kept  them  and  put  them  in  above 
No.  2  Company,  and  joining  on  the  1st  Battalion  Grena- 
diers. The  enemy  evidently  began  to  lose  heart,  and  a 
machine-gun  crew  tried  to  slip  away,  as  it  was  getting 
dark,  but  all  were  shot,  with  the  exception  of  one  man 
who  surrendered  with  the  gun. 

But  with  darkness  everyone  became  busy  digging,  and 
before  dawn  a  trench  had  been  made. 

At  3  a.m.  Dene  received  orders  to  prepare  to  attack 
the  strong  point,  but  later  this  was  altered  to  "  co- 
operation when  the  62nd  Brigade  come  up.'" 

At  6.15  a.m.  the  battalion  saw  for  the  first  time  a  tank 
go  into  action.  Amidst  silence,  except  for  an  occasional 
shot — so  occasional  that  the  report  seemed  timid  and 
diffident — it  advanced  on  the  strong  point.  There  was 
no  need  for  it  to  do  anything  more,  as  the  entire  garrison 
came  rushing  out  with  their  hands  up  and  gibbering 
with  fear. 

The  flank  being  now  clear  of  any  known  danger,  Cpl. 
Hicks  was  sent  out  with  a  patrol  from  No.  4,  and  came 
back  about  noon  to  report  that  the  Leicesters  were  in 

The  enemy  could  then  be  seen  running  in  the  direction 
of  Le  Transloy.  There  were,  however,  a  few  snipers  still 
concealed  in  shell-holes,  and  Dene  told  his  orderly,  Sully, 

Sept.  1916]       THE  SECOND   ATTACK  127 

not  to  follow  liim  about,  but  to  deal  with  them.  Sully 
was  a  crack  shot,  and,  having  made  himself  comfortable 
in  a  position  of  vantage,  and  lighted  a  fresh  cigarette,  he 
killed  two  in  quick  succession — after  which  odd  men  came 
in  with  their  hands  up,  and  there  was  no  more  trouble 
in  that  quarter.  These  scattered  Germans  were  always 
a  nuisance.  A  single  man  would  lie  in  a  shell-hole  and 
be  passed  over,  and  then  would  calmly  snipe  runners,  or 
any  single  or  couple  of  men  who  approached  him.  To  a 
bigger  party  he  would  surrender  if  in  danger  of  being 
discovered,  I  and  if  it  was  not  convenient  to  detach  a 
man  to  take  the  prisoner  back  he  would  often  be  told  to 
get  back  himself,  but  at  the  first  opportunity  he  would 
slip  into  another  shell-hole  and  start  sniping  again. 
During  this  battle  Stephen  Stokes,  being  alone  and  on 
the  way  to  visit  one  of  his  guns,  had  a  bomb  thrown  at 
him  by  such  a  man.  The  bomb  failed  to  do  him  any 
harm,  and  fortunately  it  was  the  last  weapon  the  German 
possessed.  He  then  wished  to  surrender,  but  Stokes 
refused  to  accept  it,  and  without  argument  shot  him. 
It  may  be  argued  that  it  requires  brave  men  to  do  these 
deeds,  but  as  brave  men  they  must  be  prepared  to  accept 
the  logical  consequences  of  their  actions. 

The  62nd  Brigade  had  come  up  a  bit,  but  were  not 
yet  level  with  the  Grenadiers,  and  for  the  rest  of  the 
day,  although  everybody  wanted  to  get  on,  nothing 

At  11  p.m.  the  Northumberland  Fusiliers  arrived  and 
took  up  a  position  on  the  left  of  the  Grenadiers,  after 
which  the  1st  Battalion  Scots  Guards  relieved  the  whole 
of  the  3rd  Brigade. 

The  battalion  marched  back  to  Trones  Wood. 

43  Sergt.  C.  H.  Wren,  403  L/Sergt.  C.  0.  Bowles,  1,869 
Pte.  John  Broom  were  conspicuously  gallant. 

Casualties  were  returned  as  78,  and  one  officer,  Rupert 
Lewis,  wounded. 

The  last  attack  had  been  favoured  with  good  weather, 
but  it  now  started  to  rain  again,  and  although  Dabell 
worked  like  a  Trojan,  and  brought  down  every  bivouac 
sheet  and  bit  of  canvas  he  could  lay  his  hands  on,  the 

128  THE   SOMJME  [Chap.  IX 

shelter  so  obtained  was  useless  against  the  water,  wliich 
seemed  to  ooze  up  out  of  the  ground. 

Burying  parties  went  out,  and  this  gave  a  good  oppor- 
tunity of  seeing  what  damage  had  been  done  to  the  enemy 
and  finding  out  how  he  had  been  situated. 

The  wood  at  Ginchy  showed  what  was  known  before, 
a  number  of  German  dead  mixed  with  our  own.  Brom- 
field  and  Bagot  fell  by  the  side  of  the  trench  which  they 
first  occupied, and  the  dead  of  both  sides  were  thick  round 
here.  The  enemy  attacks  had  come  from  the  north-east. 
About  twenty-five  to  thirty  yards  from  the  trench,  and 
stretching  away  in  a  rough  diagonal  line,  the  ground  was 
thick  with  Germans;  Lewis  Guns  and  rifle-fire  had  taken 
toll  of  them  in  that  direction.  And  it  was  easy  to  see 
how  the  left  wing  of  the  first  German  attack  had  swept 
round  the  flank  of  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  and 
got  behind  them  in  the  wood ;  there  were  the  German 
bombs  ready  to  hand  on  the  lip  of  dugout  shell-holes,  and 
in  some  cases  their  still  and  silent  occupants  lying  at  the 
bottom.  But  there  were  no  traces  of  the  Germans  having 
held  more  than  the  north-east  corner  of  the  wood. 

Inspection  of  the  ground  to  the  north-east  of  Ginchy 
revealed  the  fearful  effect  of  the  enemy  flank  fire  on  the 
15th,  before  the  1st  and  2nd  Brigades  reached  the  trench 
which  was  their  first  objective.  Several  men  who  were 
missing  since  the  16th  were  found  in  the  growing  crops. 

The  story  of  the  25th  was  a  better  tale,  and  German 
dead  predominated. 

The  part  played  by  the  Guards  Division  in  the  battle 
of  the  Somme  is  shown  on  the  map  by  a  small  advance, 
but  on  the  ground  could  be  read  the  true  history  :  an 
advance  through  heavy  artillery  barrages,  and  the  ground 
swept  by  machine-gun  fire  from  the  front  and  either 
flank.  Surveying  the  scene  quietly  one  felt  that  these 
men  were  not  dead  :  death  suggests  something  horrible, 
something  broken,  something  grotesque  and  empty,  but 
here  was  a  silent  grandeur,  a  calm,  overpowering  dignity. 
There  had  been  very  little  of  that  hand-to-hand  fighting 
where  a  man  becomes  wild  and  fierce,  and  in  the  mad 
exultation  of  personal  conflict  can  die  if  he  must ;  these 


Sept.  1916]  ST.   IMAULVIS  129 

men,  with  the  common  names  of  Jones,  Roberts  and 
Williams,  had  died  walking  steadily  over  soft,  heavy- 
ground  pitted  with  shell-craters,  and  carrying  the  heavy 
load  of  modern  war  equipment,  hearing  the  nerve-racking 
crackle  of  machine  guns,  which  became  so  intense  that 
it  was  one  continuous  sound  punctuated  by  the  loud 
explosion  of  shells  in  quick  succession — plodding  on  with 
all  these  noises  in  their  ears,  round  their  heads — seeing 
men  fall  all  round  them,  but  advancing  stolidly  until  they 
fell  or  "  got  there."'  And  they  lay  with  rifle  in  hand  and 
load  on  their  backs,  face  pressed  against  the  crumbling 
pounded  ground.  But,  even  as  the  burying  parties  lifted 
the  fast  decomposing  bodies  into  the  graves  which  had 
been  dug,  one  felt  that  the  "  life  ''  which  had  controlled 
these  dignified  remains  of  men  was  still  in  existence. 

On  the  29th  the  battalion  moved  to  another  camp  near 
Carnoi,  on  better  ground  and  under  canvas.  Luxmoore 
Ball,  more  or  less  cured  of  his  wound,  Copland  Grif- 
fiths, back  from  his  rest  at  Havre,  rejoined ;  and  with 
them  came  Bird,  Devas,  Hargreaves,  Upjohn,  Dilbero- 
glue.  Of  these  new  officers  Hargreaves  was  the  only  one 
with  any  experience,  he  having  already  fought  at  Galli- 
poli,  and  proving  himself  later  a  most  gallant  and  capable 

From  this  camp  to  Fricourt,  the  Entrenching  Battalion 
Camp,  on  the  30th,  the  transport  starting  on  this  day 
for  St.  Maulvis,  for  which  place  the  battalion  left  on 
October  1st,  marching  to  Morlancourt,  and  from  there 
carried  by  the  French  in  buses. 

De  Satge,  the  interpreter,  arranged  all  the  billets,  and 
food  for  the  officers  in  a  battalion  mess.  De  Satge  was 
well  known  in  the  division,  having  been  for  some  years 
previous  to  the  war  a  master  at  Eton  College.  Skavinski 
was  the  first  interpreter  with  the  battalion  at  Arques  in 
1915,  but  he  left  in  March  1916,  when  De  Satge  joined, 
to  remain  until  the  early  part  of  1918. 

The  first  order  at  St.  Maulvis  was  that  the  men  should 
do  nothing  for  three  days.  Let  them,  said  the  Command- 
manding  Officer,  eat  and  sleep  as  much  as  they  like. 
Billets  were  good,  and  Dabell  was  sent  scouring  th^ 

130  ST.   MAULVIS  [Chap.  IX 

country  for  vegetables,  which  were  paid  for  out  of  the 
Canteen  Fund. 

Ellis,  Lascelles,  and  Downing  joined,  and  there  was  a 
general  reposting  of  officers — ^Luxmoore  Ball  commanded 
the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  with  Arthur  Gibbs, 
Lascelles,  Devas  and  Bird ;  Jimjack  Evans  (returned 
from  the  3rd  Brigade  staff)  had  No.  2,  with  Lisburne, 
Copland  Griffiths  and  Ellis ;  Aldridge  had  No.  3  with 
Fox-Pitt,  Kearton  and  Downing,  and,  joining  a  few  days 
later,  Wreford  Brown ;  Dudley  Ward,  Upjohn,  Har- 
greaves  and  Dilberoglue  in  No.  4.  Nigel  Wells,  who  had 
done  very  good  service,  had  been  ill  for  some  time,  and 
went  home  (where  he  was  given  employment  in  the  more 
congenial  climate  of  Egypt),  leaving  the  transport  in  the 
hands  of  Goetz. 

On  October  4th  the  battalion  was  inspected  and  con- 
gratulated by  the  brigadier,  and  on  the  7th  by  the  major- 

Numbers  were  slightly  made  up  by  two  drafts,  50  and 
93,  some  old  and  some  new  men. 

Most  of  the  officers  managed  to  get  leave  during  this 
month,  but  the  leave  for  the  men  was  very  scanty,  only 
three  and  four  passes  issued  per  day,  and  there  were  still 
138  men  who  had  never  been  on  leave  since  they  arrived 
in  France  with  the  battalion.  At  the  end  of  October  all 
leave  was  again  stopped. 

On  November  1st  H.R.H.  the  Duke  of  Connaught  in- 
spected the  division  near  Le  Chaussey.  Not  being  able 
to  talk  to  the  whole  of  the  division  he  addressed  those 
who  had  won  decorations  during  the  war.    He  said  : 

"It  has  given  me  the  greatest  pleasure  to  have  been 
able  to  see  you  here  in  France  as  a  division,  and  to  have 
this  opportunity  of  expressing  to  all  those  who  have  been 
decorated  for  gallantry  in  the  field  my  very  great  appre- 
ciation for  what  you  have  done  during  this  great  war  to 
uphold  the  traditions  of  the  Guards. 

**  I  appreciate  very  deeply  the  splendid  spirit  of 
bravery  which  has  been  shown  by  all  ranks  in  moments 
of  great  trial  and  stress,  and,  while  deeply  regretting  the 
very  serious  losses  you  have  sustained,  I  am  very  proud, 

Nov.  1916]    H.R.H.  THE  DUKE  OF  CONNAUGHT    131 

as  Senior  Colonel  of  the  Brigade  of  Guards,  of  inspecting 
so  distinguished  a  body  of  men. 

"On  all  sides  I  hear  of  the  splendid  example  set  to  the 
army  by  officers,  non-commissioned  officers,  and  men  of 
the  brigade. 

**  The  parade  I  have  just  seen  shows  me  that  you  have 
in  no  way  abated  the  smartness  of  home  service,  and  I 
consider  that  to-day's  parade  reflects  very  great  credit 
on  all  ranks. 

"  I  hope  all  those  who  have  received  these  decorations 
may  live  long  to  enjoy  them,  and  that  your  families  at 
home  may  be  as  proud  of  you  as  I  am." 



The  battle  of  the  Somme  continued  through  the  month 
of  October,  but  with  longer  intervals  between  engage- 
ments. The  weather,  never  good,  had  become  vile,  and 
the  whole  battle-field,  pounded  and  smashed  by  months 
of  shell-fire,  churned  up  by  troops  and  pack  animals — 
wheeled  traffic  had  to  keep  to  the  roads — was  like  a 
gigantic  quagmire.  Nevertheless,  important  gains  in 
position  were  made  on  October  21st,  with  the  capture 
of  Regina  Trench  and  Stuff  Trench,  two  celebrated  lines  ; 
and  again  on  the  23rd  to  the  east  of  Les  Boeufs. 

On  November  11th  a  most  successful  engagement  was 
fought  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Beaumont  Hamel,  which 
resulted  in  the  capture  of  7,200  prisoners  :  this  battle 
might  be  called  the  battle  of  the  Ancre,  but  it  is  linked 
up  with  the  Somme  fighting,  and  a  direct  result  of  it, 
and  marks  the  end  of  the  big  British  operations  of  1916. 

Verdun,  too,  had  been  relieved,  and  the  French  de- 
claration, "  lis  ne  passeront  pas "  was  no  idle  boast. 

The  total  number  of  prisoners  taken  by  the  British 
from  July  1st  to  November  18th  was  30,000,  including 
over  800  officers ;  and  of  war  material  we  captured  29 
heavy  guns,  96  field  guns  and  howitzers,  136  trench- 
mortars,  and  514  machine  guns. 

The  greatest  battle  the  world  had  seen  up  to  that  date 
appeared  to  have  had  no  result.  The  gain  of  country 
was  inconsiderable ;  the  enemy  moral  may  have  sus- 
tained a  rude  shock,  but  he  still  fought  strongly  and  well ; 


Nov.  1916]  MANSELL  CAMP  133 

his  losses  in  prisoners  and  casualties  were  great,  but  his 
divisions  still  barred  the  way.  That  one  battle  should 
last  for  months,  and  end  with  both  sides  stuck  in  the 
mud,  when  a  decision  of  some  sort  had  in  former  wars 
usually  been  reached  in  as  many  hours,  was  not  an 
encouraging  thought  to  those  soldiers  who  looked  for  a 
speedy  return  to  their  homes. 

On  November  6th  the  battalion  went  back  to  the 
Somme  area  by  motor-bus,  to  Mansell  Camp,  near  Carnoi. 

Until  the  14th  they  worked  on  roads  and  at  a  railway 
siding  near  Trones  Wood. 

The  whole  country  had  become  one  great  heap  of  mud. 
It  had  been  fought  over,  it  had  been  trampled  on  by 
countless  infantry,  by  horses — cavalry,  artillery,  all 
manner  of  transport — it  was  covered  with  camps  and 
dumps.  There  were  very  few  roads,  the  dry  weather 
tracks  which  had  been  constructed  broke  up  with  the 
rain,  and  the  dust  which  had  accumulated  on  them  only 
served  to  make  matters  worse.  All  through  the  battle 
only  heavy  traffic  had  been  using  the  road  between 
Carnoi  and  Montauban,  the  lighter  transport  using  the 
tracks  until  the  weather  broke,  so  that  now  all  traffic 
used  this  road.  It  was  no  longer  a  road — it  looked  like 
the  bed  of  a  mountain  torrent.  Horses  splashing  through 
water  two  inches  deep  would  fall  into  a  hole  with  water 
up  to  their  bellies ;  hundreds  of  men  along  the  road 
would  be  engaged,  dodging  in  and  out  amongst  the  traffic, 
trying  to  fill  up  the  holes  by  throwing  large  stones  into 
them  when  the  opportunity  served  ;  and  the  traffic  never 
stopped,  and  the  loose  stones  thrown  into  the  holes  were 
as  quickly  ground  into  mud  and  washed  away. 

Three  companies  were  put  on  to  this  road,  with  orders 
to  dig  a  drain,  but,  unfortunately,  through  some  error, 
it  appeared  that  a  bank  was  what  was  wanted,  and  so 
they  filled  up  the  drain  again. 

This  Sisyphean  task  was  left  on  the  14th,  and  the  only 
pleasant  memory  was  of  a  Nissen  hut  occupied  by  Capt. 
Heath,  "  Danny  ''  Evans,  and  other  merry  engineers  of 
the  di\dsion,  who  dispensed  prolific  hospitality. 

When  not  engaged  on  this  fatigue  the  men  of  the 

134  MANSELL  CAMP  [Chap.  X 

battalion  sat  in,  or  stood  by,  their  tents  in  Mansell  Camp 
and  stared  at  the  struggling  mass  of  men  and  vehicles 
on  the  road,  or,  turning  the  other  way,  viewed  a  wide 
expanse  of  mud  dotted  over  with  horse-lines  and 

Humphrey  Dene  was  in  command,  as  Lieut.-Col. 
Murray  Threipland  was  on  extended  leave,  owing  to 
illness.  Many  were  the  discussions  on  the  future. 
"  What  is  Fritz  going  to  do  ? — tell  me  that,'"  Dene  would 
challenge.  No  one  could  accept  the  idea  of  rounding  up 
several  million  German  prisoners,  or  of  doing  anything 
more  than  bend  the  enemy  line.  How,  then,  was  it  going 
to  end  ?  The  argument,  repeated  again  and  again, 
always  concluded  in  the  same  fashion — internal  dissen- 
sion would  finish  the  war.     "  You  mean,''  said  Dene, 

"  Fritz  will  get  bored  with  it.     It  bores  me  already . 

This  place  bores  me .     You  bore  me,  Dudley . 

Oh,  my  God  !  " 

liuxmoore  Ball  was  laid  up  with  rheumatism  in  his 
wounded  shoulder,  and  took  little  interest  in  anything 
except  how  to  keep  warm,  Lisburne  and  Jimjack  Evans 
were  somewhat  silent ;  Copland  Griffiths  read  books  and 
smoked  many  cigarettes ;  Hargreaves  tried  to  create 
interest  by  yarning  about  Ceylon,  and  Upjohn  by  disser- 
tations on  old  furniture  and  modern  plays.  The  only 
person  in  the  officers'  mess  who  seemed  indifferent 
these  times,  provided  he  got  plenty  of  food,  was  Arthur 
Gibbs.  Arthur  Gibbs's  chief  recollection  and  great 
concern  in  the  Somme  fighting  was  the  loss  of  a  tin  of 

The  battalion  moved  for  one  night  to  Camp  H,  near 
Montauban,  and  from  there  took  over  the  line  near 
Gueudecourt  from  the  2nd  Scots  Guards. 

We  have  said  the  condition  of  the  Somme  battle-field 
was  appalling.  It  was  also  confusing,  having  no  land- 
marks, and  at  night  one  skyline  looked  exactly  as  any 
other.  Guides  who  could  find  their  way  about  in  day- 
time invariably  got  lost  at  night.  And  to  keep  a 
straight  line  in  the  mass  of  shell-holes  and  trenches  was 

Nov.  1916] 



The  battalion  marched  in  by  Longueval  and  Delville 
Wood,  and  the  going  at  first  was  easy,  as  duckboards 
had  been  laid  down  for  some  2,000  yards ;  but  these 
came  to  an  end,  and  then  there  were  windings  and 
twistings  for  no  apparent  reason  in  the  dark  until 
Needle  Trench  was  reached.  Headquarters  was  the 
German  dugout  in  the  strong  point  so  closely  w^atched 
on  September  26th — a  very  large  and  deep  affair.  This 
dugout  was  due  west  of  Les  Boeufs,  and  the  trenches  to 
be  occupied  were  due  east  of  Gueudecourt,  a  distance 
of  2,000  yards  ;  but  it  seemed  like  20,000. 

The  Line  at  Gueudecouet.    Note  the  German  Post  in  the  Centre. 

It  was  freezing  the  night  of  the  15th,  and  the  valley 
was  hard  as  iron.  The  front  line  was  a  narrow  trench 
hastily  dug  by  the  enemy.  The  commencement  of  dug- 
outs existed  in  some  parts,  but  nothing  more  advanced 
than  seven-foot  shafts.  Dividing  the  two  companies 
holding  the  front  line  (two  were  in  Needle  Trench)  was 
a  German  strong  point.  The  Welsh  Guards  held  the  left 
of  the  divisional  line,  and  the  Australians  were  on  their 


136  GUEUDECOURT  [Chap.  X 

It  was  a  nasty  position,  as  supports  were  on  the  other 
side  of  the  valley,  which  was  continually  shelled  by  the 
enemy,  and  in  any  event  so  far  away  that  any  assistance 
was  out  of  the  question.  The  Germans,  however,  were 
not  disposed  to  make  any  raids  or  demonstrations,  and 
all  that  had  to  be  contended  with  were  the  weather  and 

On  the  17th  there  was  an  inter-company  relief,  and  at 
the  same  time  the  weather  broke.  All  through  the  day 
it  had  been  thawing,  and  with  darkness  came  rain  ;  the 
trench  fell  in,  and  the  valley  was  a  swamp.  The  relief 
was  made  still  harder  by  a  heavy  enemy  barrage  across 
the  valley.  The  outgoing  platoons  got  lost  in  the  pitch- 
black  night ;  men  fell  into  shell-holes  and  sunk  to  their 
armpits  in  mud  ;  the  companies  in  Needle  Trench  were 
not  present  till  long  past  dayhght.  And  then  it  froze 
again  and  then  rained. 

On  the  19th  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  and  No.  2 
Company  were  relieved  in  the  front  line  by  the  1st  Bat- 
talion Scots  Guards,  and  on  the  20th  Nos.  3  and  4  Com- 
panies in  Needle  Trench  by  the  60th  Australian  Infantry 

There  were  forty-three  casualties  in  the  Gueudecourt 
Line,  amongst  them  Hargreaves,  hit  in  the  shoulder, 
and,  what  was  more  serious  to  the  battalion,  a  lot  of  men 
with  trench  feet — sixteen  were  evacuated  on  the  21st. 

After  a  few  hours'  rest  at  H  Camp  the  battalion 
marched  to  Meault,  a  dreary  ruin  of  a  village,  and  there 
a  surprise  was  in?6tore  for  them — the  Welsh GuardsBand, 
which  they  had  never  seen  or  heard!  The  bandmaster, 
Harris,  waited  a  couple  of  miles  outside  Meault  to  play 
the  battalion  in,  and  his  intention  was  much  appreciated, 
although  in  effect  he  only  led  in  the  Prince  of  Wales's 
company,  marching  in  file !  This  was  the  army  order 
for  the  congested  roads,  and  also  that  there  should  be 
200  yards'  interval  between  companies.  But  he  played 
the  regimental  march  for  each  company  as  it  marched 
into  the  village.  Perhaps  it  was  not  such  an  undramatic 
meeting  as  Harris  thought  at  the  moment. 

Although  any  exercise  of  a  military  nature  was  not 

Dec.  1916]  BROMFAY  CA]\IP  137 

possible  in  that  mud-infested  area,  sport  was  attempted 
during  the  stay  at  ^leault,  and  the  Welsh  Guards  played 
a  game  of  mud-larking  football  against  the  1st  Battalion 
Grenadier  Guards,  and  beat  them  by  two  goals  ;  there 
was  also  a  concert  and  some  boxing,  in  which  Pte.  Cham- 
berlain once  more  proved  himself  a  champion. 

On  November  29th  Major  Douglas  Gordon  joined,  and 
on  December  1st  the  Commanding  Officer  returned. 

On  December  2nd  a  move  was  made  to  Bromfay  Camp, 
again  in  the  Carnoi  District,  and  the  grim  winter  work 
in  the  Somme  sector  commenced. 

The  line  was  on  the  left  of  Sailly-Saillisel,  and  over 
against  Le  Transloy.  The  total  distance  from  the  camp 
to  the  line  was  about  fifteen  miles,  and  too  far  to  march, 
so  a  triangle  was  arranged.  From  Bromfay  Camp  bat- 
talions marched  to  JMaltzhorn  Camp,  near  Montauban, 
and  stayed  there  one  night,  and  then  on  to  the  line. 
Outgoing  troops  marched  from  the  line  to  the  railway 
siding  near  Maltzhorn  Camp,  where  they  got  into  a 
train  and  were  taken  back  to  Bromfay  Camp.  The 
work  in  days  and  nights  was  as  follows  :  three  nights 
and  three  days  in  the  line  ;  then  the  relief,  which  was 
over  as  a  rule  about  7  p.m.,  and  the  march  to  the  rail- 
way siding,  which  was  reached  about  11  p.m.  (here  the 
men  had  tea  or  cocoa  and  waited  for  the  train,  which 
started  round  about  1  a.m.)  ;  then  the  march  at  the 
other  end,  which  brought  troops  into  camp  about  2.30 
a.m.  The  first  night's  rest,  therefore,  did  not  start 
much  before  4  a.m.  The  next  day  was  spent  in  Brom- 
fay Camp,  and  the  following  day  troops  marched  to 
Maltzhorn  Camp  ;  one  night  at  Maltzhorn  and  then  a 
march  to  the  line. 

All  through  their  part  in  the  Somme  Battle  the  Guards 
Division  had  been  near  the  French,  though  not  actually 
next  to  them,  and  the  Transloy  Line  was  taken  over 
from  the  French.  The  French  had  started  to  make  a 
good  line,  with  deep  trenches  and  good  communication, 
and  when  first  taken  over  in  frosty  weather  it  was  easy 
to  get  about ;  but  before  anything  in  the  way  of  re- 
vetting could  be  done  a  thaw  set  in  and  rain.    The 

138  LE  TRANSLOY  [Chap.  X 

trenches  fell  to  pieces,  subsided  within  an  hour.  The 
whole  country  became  a  swamp,  and  from  Haie  Wood, 
between  Combles  and  Morval,  to  the  line,  a  distance  of 
two  and  a  half  miles,  each  step  forward  was  an  effort. 
Everything  possible  was  done  to  limit  the  traffic  to 
the  line— rations  for  the  whole  period  were  carried  in 
by  the  relieving  troops — but  the  absolutely  necessary 
traffic  cut  up  the  soft  muddy  ground  until  men  sank 
up  to  their  knees  in  the  puddled  stuff.  There  was  only 
one  line  along  which  anyone  could  move,  and  the  track 
became  wider  and  wider;  but  to  leave  the  track 
altogether,  especially  as  relief  could  only  be  done  at 
night,  meant  a  danger  of  getting  lost  in  that  bare, 
treeless  country,  with  the  even  skyline.  The  march 
"  in  "  was  exhausting  ;  much  more  so  the  march  "  out," 
after  three  days  in  the  mud  without  shelter  of  any  sort 
or  kind.  A  soup-kitchen  was  established  by  Sidney 
Jones,  the  padre,  at  Combles,  and  another  at  the  railway 
siding,  and  they  were  great  blessings.  But  the  men 
arrived  at  Bromfay  Camp  wet  to  the  skin. 

Gen.  Sir  Francis  Lloyd  visited  the  Welsh  Guards  at 
Bromfay  Camp  during  the  month  of  December,  and 
when  his  motor-car  stopped  in  the  muddy  road  opposite 
the  entrance  to  the  camp,  he  paused  on  the  step.  *'  By 
Jove,''  said  he,  "  what  a  sea  of  mud !  " 

And  plunged  boldly  into  the  eighteen  inches  of  "  slush." 

Maltzhorn  Camp  was  the  same. 

It  may  be  said  that  men  were  never  dry,  and  the  sick 
list  in  consequence  was  a  big  one.  Some  idea  of  the 
problems  which  had  to  be  faced  may  be  gathered  from 
the  story  of  overcoats.  A  young  officer  of  one  regiment 
of  Guards  was  called  before  his  brigadier  to  explain  his 
reasons  for  giving  orders  to  his  company  to  leave  their 
greatcoats  in  the  line.  His  explanation  that  they  were 
too  heavy  for  the  men  to  carry  out  was  at  first  received 
as  frivolous,  not  to  say  impertinent ;  but  a  coat,  fresh 
from  the  line,  was  weighed  and  found  to  be  over  70  lb. 
He  was  absolved. 

The  proppers  had  been  brigaded,  and  Lascelles,  in 
charge  of  the  Welsh  Guards  section,  struggled  valiantly. 



Dec.  1916]   LT.-COL.   MURRAY  THREIPLAND       139 

carrying  trench  boards  and  laying  them  down  to  sink  in 
the  mud.  Towards  the  end  of  December  he  succeeded 
in  getting  a  path  to  the  line,  but  it  was  always  heavily 
shelled  by  the  enemy. 

On  the  14th,  just  before  the  battalion  left  Bromfay 
Farm  on  its  usual  round  to  the  line,  the  Commanding 
Officer  addressed  the  men,  and  his  first  words  were  as  a 
bombshell  in  their  midst. 

He  had  not  been  well  since  the  Somme  battles,  and 
now  the  doctor  had  ordered  him  home. 

That  the  whole  battalion  was  genuinely  grieved  there 
can  be  no  doubt.  He  had  lovable  qualities,  simple 
habits,  determination  of  purpose,  and  dogged  persever- 
ance ;  he  looked  after  his  men  and  their  comforts  extra- 
ordinarily well ;  he  fought  fearlessly  for  the  good  of  his 
battalion  when  occasion  arose  ;  he  never  spared  himself. 
His  officers  and  men  knew  all  this,  and  he  won  their 
respect  and  admiration.  They  knew  he  was  a  good 
soldier  and  a  straight-minded  man. 

Major  Douglas  Gordon  then  assumed  command. 

Of  the  line  itself  there  is  nothing  more  of  interest  to 
note.  The  enemy  was  in  as  bad  a  state  as  the  British 
troops  opposite  him.  Patrolling  was  a  farce,  and  no  real 
enterprise  was  undertaken  in  that  direction  beyond 
inspecting  the  barbed  wire,  which  was  scanty  enough. 
All  the  fighting  was  confined  to  the  artillery,  which 
was  exceedingly  active  on  both  sides. 

There  was  one  slight  alteration  in  the  arrangement  of 
the  division,  so  as  to  cut  down  the  duties  in  the  front  line 
as  much  as  possible — the  three  brigades  were  turned  into 
two  groups. 

Officers  were  getting  short — Aldridge  and  Fox-Pitt  had 
to  go  away  to  hospital  in  December.  Dudley  Ward  went 
sick  in  the  middle  of  January,  and  was  soon  after  followed 
by  Devereux,  who  had  only  joined  in  December,  and 
Jimjack  Evans  went  back  to  the  staff.  But  Lieut.  Bonn 
and  2/Lieut.  Roderick  joined  on  December  18th,  and 
2/Lieut.  Culverwell  towards  the  end  of  December. 

Christmas  Day  was  celebrated  at  Bromfay  Camp.  The 
surroundings  were  less  propitious  for  gaiety  than  those 

140  LE  TRANSLOY  [Chap.  X 

at  Laventie  ;  the  camp  was  surrounded  with  the  utmost 
dreariness  and  desolation.  Narrow  trench-boards,  fixed 
on  piles  driven  into  the  mud,  led  you  between  the  rows 
of  black  wooden  huts.  The  huts  had  been  built  by  the 
French,  and  were  larger  than  the  usual  British  hut ; 
they  were  placed  on  the  bare  earth,  and  the  floors  were 
either  dusty  or  greasy  as  they  were  dry  or  wet — a  trench 
round  the  outsides  prevented  them  becoming  soft  mud, 
and  the  surface  only  got  wet.  No  provision  had  been 
made  for  fires,  and  no  material  was  available  for  con- 
structing chimneys  ;  coal  and  coke  were  scarce.  To 
enable  the  men  to  dry  their  clothes  and  get  some  sort  of 
warmth,  Dabell  used  to  scour  the  countryside  for  wood, 
and  succeeded  in  accumulating  large  heaps  of  debris  each 
time  the  battalion  was  in  the  line.  This  fuel  being 
gathered  from  old  trenches,  broken  dugouts,  and  ruined 
villages  and  buildings,  was  always  wet,  but  the  men 
cheerfully  built  enormous  fires  in  the  centre  of  each  hut, 
which  in  a  short  time  was  transformed  into  a  good  repre- 
sentation of  a  corner  in  hell. 

The  upper  portion  of  the  huts  was  filled  with  thick, 
eye-stinging  smoke,  in  the  midst  of  which  dripping,  mud- 
smeared  greatcoats  were  hung  on  wires  stretching  from 
side  to  side.  The  men  lay  on  bits  of  tin  roofing,  boards, 
sacks,  anything  which  would  keep  them  off  the  damp 
ground,  and  managed  to  fill  the  lower  and  purer  air  with 
tobacco-smoke.  It  was  hell  without  the  general  excessive 
heat  usually  associated  with  that  place.  If  you  lay  close 
up  against  the  fire  when  it  eventually  blazed,  one  side 
of  you  was  scorched,  and  if  you  moved  a  little  way  oi! 
you  found  yourself  in  a  damp,  dank  fog. 

The  officers'  hut  was  the  same — with  furniture.  A 
long  table  ran  down  the  centre  with  fixed  benches  along 
the  sides  of  it.  Against  the  walls  of  the  hut  were  rows 
of  beds  (wooden  frames  with  rabbit-wire  stretched  across 
them).  Instead  of  the  wood  fire  they  had  braziers  filled 
with  coke  and  a  handful  of  coal,  which  made  a  vile  smoke, 
with  large  floating  smuts,  and  filled  the  hut  with  choking 
fumes,  but  no  heat.  Round  each  brazier  a  little  group 
of  people  huddled  together  with  outstretched  hands, 

Jan.  1917]  VILLE   SUR  ANCRE  141 

Aldridge  and  Dene  nursing  bronchitis,  Luxmoore  Ball 
rheumatism,  and  the  rest  trying  to  warm  their  misery 
into  sufficient  energy  for  the  repetition  of  bitter  jibes 
and  jokes  to  conceal  their  thoughts. 

A  good  place  for  a  merry  Christmas. 

Against  these  conditions  the  Welsh  Guards  band 
worked  with  heroic  vim  and  cheerfulness ;  their  fingers 
may  have  been  frozen — their  faces  were  certainly  blue — 
but  they  played  lively  tunes  without  rest. 

For  their  Christmas  dinner  the  men  had  a  quarter  of 
a  pound  of  plum  pudding,  a  quart  of  beer,  and  two 
packets  of  cigarettes,  and  the  band  played  for  them. 
Perhaps  a  more  cheery  dinner  was  held  by  the  officers 
on  New  Year's  Eve,  when  they  were  joined  at  the  close 
of  dinner  by  Charles  Greville,  Bernard  Burke,  Churchill, 
and  a  few  festive  souls  from  the  Grenadier  camp  opposite. 
Mick  Rowlette  and  the  Grenadier  doctor  raced  across  the 
rafters  of  the  hut,  Charles  Greville  sang  many  songs  out 
of  time,  aided  and  abetted  by  Bernard  Burke,  Luxmoore 
Ball  mixed  hot  rum  and  pepper  and  called  it  punch,  and 
a  crowd  of  subalterns  "  produced  "  de  Satge  from  his  bed 
arrayed  in  a  gorgeous  suit  of  pyjamas.  Everyone  knew 
they  were  going  back  to  Ville  sur  Ancre  the  next  day, 
and  hoped  it  meant  the  last  of  the  Somme. 

But  the  respite  from  mud  was  not  for  long,  and  on 
January  10th,  1917,  the  battalion  left  Ville  and  marched 
back  to  Billon  Farm  Camp,  quite  close  to  Bromfay  Camp. 
From  there  to  Maurepas  Camp  on  the  11th,  and  to  Priez 
Farm,  where  there  was  a  big  dugout-making  and  cable- 
burying  fatigue,  on  the  13th  (No.  4  Company  had  to 
return  to  Maurepas  that  night,  as  there  was  no  room  in 
Priez  Farm  Camp).  On  the  night  of  the  14th  the  whole 
battalion  was  back  at  Billon  Farm.  Here  they  remained 
working  on  roads  and  improving  the  camp  until  the  24th, 
when  they  returned  once  more  to  Maurepas.  On  the 
25th  they  went  into  the  Fregicourt  sector  on  the  right  of 
Sailly-Saillisel,  and  opposite  St.  Pierre  Vaast  Wood. 

The  line,  a  matter  of  a  dozen  posts,  was  on  the  forward 
slope  of  a  most  important  ridge,  which  had  at  all  costs  to 
be  denied  to  the  enemy.     These  front  posts  were  held  by 

142  rpEGICOURT  [Chap.  X 

one  company  ;  in  close  support  on  the  reverse  slope  was 
another  company,  and  500  yards  behind  them  the  re- 
maining two  companies  in  reserve.  The  battalion  were 
in  for  four  days,  and  then  went  back  to  Maurepas  ;  and 
in  the  line  again  on  February  3rd  for  three  days,  and  so 
to  Maurepas.  But  there  is  nothing  of  interest  except 
the  intense  cold  through  the  latter  part  of  January  and 
the  beginning  of  February,  which  caused  a  great  deal  of 
suffering.  It  must  always  be  remembered,  when  appre- 
ciating the  work  of  the  Welsh  Guards,  that  the  men  had 
to  fight  against  the  weather  as  well  as  the  Germans,  and 
resisted  the  one  as  stoutly  as  the  other.  A  hole  in  the 
ground  gave  them  a  little  shelter  from  shell,  rifle  and 
machine-gun  fire,  but  none  from  the  cold  and  wet.  The 
endurance  of  these  men  passed  all  belief,  and  their  cheer- 
fulness was  wonderful.  What  they  went  through  may 
be  gathered  from  an  order  which  came  down  from  the 
Higher  Command,  acknowledging  the  severity  of  the 
conditions,  and  recommending  Commanding  Officers  to 
do  all  in  their  power  to  stop  complaints  and  keep  all  ranks 
in  good  spirits  1  The  order  was  unnecessary  for  the 
Welsh  Guards. 

On  the  10th  the  battalion  marched  to  the  railway 
siding  near  Carnoi,  and  from  thence  by  train  to  Meri- 
court.     Here  they  remained  till  March  2nd. 

New  ofiicers  arrived  from  England  about  this  period. 
2/Lieut.  Bonsor  on  February  6th,  2/Lieuts.  Saunders, 
Shand,  R.  R.  Jones,  Arthur,  Devereux  (from  hospital) 
on  the  17th,  2/Lieut.  Jenkins  and  a  draft  of  ninety-two 
on  the  20th.  The  battalion  had  no  padre  since  Capt. 
Thursby-Pelham  went  to  hospital  prior  to  the  Somme 
battles,  and  Capt.  Oldham,  soon  to  be  given  the  name 
of  "  Mog,'*  which,  being  interpreted,  meant  "  Man  of 
God,"  joined  on  February  13th. 

Company  Commanders  now  were — Prince  of  Wales's 
Luxmoore  Ball,  No.  2  Lisburne,  No.  3  Copland  Griffiths, 
No.  4  Upjohn. 

We  must  note  that  on  the  23rd  Gen.  Lyautey,  the 
French  Minister  for  War,  inspected  the  3rd  Guards 
Brigade  near  Ville— only  the  Prince  of  Wales's  and 

March  1917]        ST.   PIERRE  VAAST  143 

No.  2  Companies  were  available  for  this  inspection,  the 
others  being  on  fatigue. 

The  Commanding  Officer,  Lieut.-Col.  Douglas  Gordon, 
having  gone  on  a  senior  officers'  course  at  Flexicourt, 
the  battalion  moved  to  Bromfay  Camp  on  March  2nd, 
and  Combles  on  the  3rd,  under  Major  Humphrey 

All  through  the  winter  the  Guards  Division  had  merely 
been  called  upon  to  hold  sectors  of  the  line,  while  their 
artillery  bombarded  the  enemy  lines  and  communica- 
tions. Life  was  bad  for  the  British,  but  it  must  have 
been  absolute  hell  for  the  Germans.  On  the  left  of  the 
Fourth  Army  (Rawlinson),  in  which  the  division  was  still 
included,  was  the  Fifth  Army  (Gough),  and  it  had  made 
several  small  advances  during  the  months  of  January 
and  February.  On  February  25th  the  enemy  suddenly 
began  to  retire  on  that  front,  and  the  Fourth  Army  re- 
doubled its  artillery  action  and  prepared  for  possibilities. 
It  was  the  beginning  of  the  German  retreat  to  the  Hin- 
denburg  Line. 

It  was  a  skilful  retreat,  and  every  means  was  employed 
to  retard  the  pursuing  troops — trees  were  cut  down,  wells 
blown  up,  roads  mined,  billets  destroyed.  But  the  line 
was  moving,  and  moving  just  north  of  Sailly-Saillisel, 
which  was  the  destination  of  the  Welsh  Guards. 

On  the  evening  of  March  4th  Humphrey  Dene  took 
over  the  line  in  the  midst  of  heavy  shell-fire.  The  Prince 
of  Wales's  and  No.  2  Companies  were  in  the  front  line, 
No.  3  on  the  flank,  and  No.  4  in  reserve.  After  two  days 
No.  4  Company  relieved  the  Prince  of  Wales's  and  half 
No.  2  in  the  front  line. 

This  was  one  of  the  hardest  tours  of  duty  the  battalion 
ever  had.  Heavy  guns,  field-guns,  and  trench-mortars 
fired  continuously  at  the  British  line  ;  the  line  was  blown 
in,  and  the  men  occupied  shell-holes  where  they  could ; 
enemy  snipers  waited  to  catch  men  moving  from  one  hole 
to  another,  and,  until  the  divisional  artillery 'found  them 
with  shrapnel,  did  some  damage.  Communication  was 
almost  impossible.  Rowlands,  the  signaller,  was  twice 
blown  up  and  buried  and  the  men  he  was  working  with 

144  ST.   PIERRE   VAAST  [Chap.  X 

killed,  but  he  carried  on,  merely  asking,  as  this  was  his 
first  experience  in  the  line,  if  it  was  always  like  this. 
Humphrey  Dene  stormed  for  retaliation  and  more  re- 
taliation, for  counter-battery  work  and  ever  more,  and 
for  four  days  a  fierce  artillery  battle  raged.  In  the  midst 
of  all  this  C.S.M.  Pearce  did  good  sniping,  and  seemed  on 
the  whole  to  be  rather  enjoying  himself.  Sergt.  Ashford 
was  badly  wounded  in  this  action,  and  Cpl.  Parker,  an 
excellent  sniper,  so  injured  that  he  afterwards  died. 
There  is  no  greater  test  of  discipline  and  determination 
than  a  prolonged  and  furious  bombardment.  In  the 
four  days  there  were  one  officer  (Jenkins)  and  seventy- 
nine  other  ranks  as  casualties.  When  the  2nd  Battalion 
Scots  Guards  relieved  on  the  8th  the  fire  was  dying  down. 

The  reason  for  this  bombardment  became  obvious — 
the  enemy  was  firing  off  his  accumulated  ammunition 
before  removing  his  guns. 

The  battalion  stayed  at  Maurepas  from  March  8th  to 
12th,  and  worked  hard  at  making  and  repairing  roads 
for  the  advance  :  they  then  went  back  to  Billon  Farm, 
where  the  same  work  was  carried  on ;  and  to  Combles 
on  the  15th,  still  working  on  the  roads.  Illness  once 
more  depleted  the  officers  and  men — Copland  Griffiths 
and  Devereux  went  to  hospital  and  England. 

On  the  19th  the  battalion  was  back  in  the  line,  where 
all  was  quiet,  but  so  changed  the  place  was  unrecognis- 
able— the  orchard  through  which  the  line  ran  had  been 
blown  to  pieces,  and  St.  Vaast  Wood  appeared  to  have 
been  uprooted  as  a  whole.  But  there  were  no  Germans, 
and  the  British  outpost  line  was  in  front  of  the  position 
the  battalion  held. 

On  the  21st,  under  the  Commanding  Officer,  who  had 
returned  the  day  before,  they  took  over  the  outpost  line 
near  Manancourt,  which  they  held  until  relieved  by  the 
2nd  Battalion  Lincolnshire  Regiment,  and  then  marched, 
with  one  night  at  Maurepas,  to  a  camp  near  Peronne. 

This  ended  the  fighting  in  the  Somme  area  ;  the  fight- 
ing had  been  hard,  the  weather  had  been  hard,  and  the 
men  had  been  hard.  The  total  casualties  in  the  battalion 
were  625.      During  the  winter  there  was  not  only  a 

April  1917]  PERONNE  145 

change  of  Commanding  Officer  for  the  battalion,  but  for 
the  brigade  as  well — Brig. -Gen.  Charles  Corkran  went  to 
England  and  Salonika,  and  was  succeeded  by  Brig. -Gen. 
Lord  Henry  Seymour.  But,  though  the  fighting  was  over 
for  the  time,  the  battalion  stayed  on  at  the  camp  near 
Peronne,  and  at  Marquaix  (April  23rd),  working  on  the 

Meanwhile,  from  April  9th  onwards,  was  fought  the 
successful  battle  of  Arras,  yielding  1,400  prisoners  and 
180  guns.  The  Allied  cause,  however,  had  suffered  a 
blow  elsewhere.  The  Revolution  had  started  in  Russia, 
which  must  have  cheered  the  enemy  very  considerably  ; 
but,  on  the  other  hand,  there  was  an  additional  menace 
which  he  did  not  at  first  realise — America  had  entered 
the  war  (April  5  th). 

No  doubt  time  will  reveal  many  grave  miscalculations 
made  by  the  Germans  which  are  not  now  known,  and 
there  will  be  much  discussion  on  the  retreat  to  the  Hin- 
denburg  Line  ;  at  the  time  the  enemy  hailed  it  as  a  great 
strategic  and  tactical  move.  That  their  defensive  posi- 
tion in  that  sector  of  the  front  was  greatly  improved 
there  can  be  little  doubt,  and  maybe  the  retreat  released 
a  few  troops  ;  but  that  the  interference  with  British  plans 
caused  any  great  inconvenience  is  open  to  question. 
What  the  exchange  of  a  further  battle  on  the  Somme 
would  have  yielded  is  idle  speculation,  but  the  swift  blow 
of  the  battle  of  Arras,  following  as  it  did  close  on  the 
retreat,  does  not  on  the  present  surface  of  knowledge 
suggest  any  dislocation  of  British  schemes. 

There  is,  however,  one  point  in  favour  of  German 
strategic  claims  :  that  the  evacuation  of  that  large  tract 
of  country,  after  careful  and  systematic  destruction  of 
roads  and  railways,  made  it  imperative  for  us  to  divert 
energy  and  material  in  that  direction.  Even  so,  it  was 
a  questionable  success  for  him.  There  may  have  been 
a  greater  scarcity  of  material  than  was  apparent — we 
know  that  rails  were  being  torn  up  from  the  permanent 
ways  in  England  and  shipped  to  France  before  the  re- 
treat, which  suggests  that  the  demand  for  rails  could  not 
be  met  by  the  manuafcturers — but  it  seemed  as  though 

146  RAILWAY  BUILDING  [Chap.  X 

this  diversion  of  material  could  only  have  caused  a 
momentary  embarrassment,  and  may  in  effect  have 
merely  reduced  a  precautionary  reserve.  At  all  events, 
whether  from  their  association  with  railways  or  from 
observation  of  actual  fact,  to  those  Welsh  Guardsmen 
who  survive  the  war,  this  period  at  Peronne  seems  to 
mark  a  change  for  the  better  in  communication.  The 
speed  in  making  railways,  and  the  construction  and 
maintenance  of  roads  improved ;  and  with  the  experience 
of  the  awful  winter  roads  in  the  Somme  area  fresh  in 
their  minds,  they  noticed  an  extensive  use  of  the  light 
railway.  If  the  German  strategy  kept  the  Guards 
Division  working  in  that  area,  it  also  created  an  enthu- 
siasm for  railway  building  which  later  made  the  work  of 
the  Engineers,  and  particularly  the  Canadian  battalions, 
appear  miraculous,  and  contributed  to  the  distress  of  the 
Germans  themselves. 

The  work  of  the  Welsh  Guards  was  appreciated  by 
Col.  B.  Eipler,  commanding  the  1st  Battalion  Canadian 
Troops,  in  a  letter  to  the  Commanding  Officer,  in  which 
he  says : 

"  During  the  past  two  months  we  have  had  the  oppor- 
tunity of  coming  together  nearly  every  day,  either  on 
the  railway  work  or  elsewhere,  and  I  must  say  that  the 
spirit  with  which  your  officers,  N.C.O.'s,  and  men  at  all 
times  carried  out  the  work  assigned  to  them  in  connec- 
tion Avith  the  construction  of  the  railway  was  one  that 
reflects  nothing  but  credit  on  your  whole  organisation. 
There  has  been  a  marked  absence  of  the  usual  rough 
language  and  talking  among  the  men  while  at  work, 
a  noticeable  spirit  of  obedience  and  respect  from  your 
men  to  their  N.C.O.'s,  of  your  N.C.O.'s  to  your  officers, 
and  of  your  officers  to  where  their  spirit  of  obedience 
and  respect  should  go.  A  large  amount  of  work  has 
been  carried  out  by  your  battalion,  and  it  has  most 
certainly  been  carried  out  in  a  quiet  and  efficient  manner, 
which  is  known  to  everybody  in  the  1st  Battalion  Cana- 
dian Railway  Troops,  of  which  I  have  the  honour  to  be 
in  command.    You  might  be  good  enough  to  thank  your 

May  1917]  CAJVIPAGNE  147 

officers  for  the  hearty  co-operation  they  have  given  us, 
and  accept  my  own  hearty  thanlcs  to  yourself/' 

Humphrey  Dene  fell  ill  and  was  sent  to  England  on 
May  1st.  Luxmoore  Ball  took  his  place  as  second  in 

On  May  20th  the  battalion  entrained,  and,  travelling 
over  the  railway  they  had  just  made,  moved  to  Corbie, 
and  were  billeted  at  a  small  village  joining  the  town — La 

After  ten  days  devoted  to  training  they  left  again  by 
train  for  St.  Omer,  arriving  on  the  31st  at  12.30  a.m., 
and  marched  through  Arques  to  the  village  of  Campagne. 

A  year  and  nine  months  had  passed  since  they  left 
Arques  to  engage  in  their  first  battle. 



Concentration  and  training  for  a  new  attack  at  Ypres 
were  taking  place.  Although  bombing  still  played  a 
prominent  part  in  all  work  carried  out  in  the  back  areas, 
the  rifle,  which  was  always  in  danger  of  being  forgotten, 
was  now  given  a  little  attention.  Ranges  were  very 
small,  but  on  June  16th,  two  days  before  the  battalion 
moved  out  of  the  area,  long-range  practice  was  carried 
out  at  Zudausques.  There  were  competitions  for  bayonet 
fighting  and  for  the  transport,  held  on  Jime  4th,  and  a 
big  Old  Etonian  dinner  in  the  evening  (Lord  Cavan  pre- 
sided over  250  diners).  Frequent  conferences  took  place 
about  training  and  censorship. 

From  time  to  time  the  question  of  censorship  was 
brought  up  before  the  battalion,  presumably  the  result 
of  a  general  order,  but  the  officers  of  the  Welsh  Guards 
were  always  rather  bored  by  it.  The  opinion  was  ex- 
pressed that  the  time  given  to  these  discussions  was 
wasted,  as  no  one  knew  anything  of  future  arrangements, 
or  indeed  very  much  of  what  was  happening  at  any 
particular  moment.  This  was  perhaps  a  slight  exaggera- 
tion, but  it  was  a  fact  that  officers  of  the  Guards  Division 
knew  less  of  the  so-called  secret  plans  than  any  other  unit 
they  met  with.  Any  information  they  received  came 
from  back  areas,  from  strange  officers  casually  encoun- 
tered at  some  training-school  or  when  taking  over  a  new 
line  ;  if  the  men  wrote  at  all  about  military  matters  that 
which  they  had  concocted  was  more  in  the  nature  of  an 
imaginative  exercise  than  the  truth.    As  to  conversa- 


June  1917]  HOUTKERQUE  149 

tion  amongst  officers,  it  generally  roamed  round  the 
extreme  limits — either  purely  local  or  family  affairs,  or 
the  great  issues  of  the  war,  the  power  of  nations,  the  map 
of  Europe.  But  they  did  not  fail  to  notice  that  these 
"  censoring  "  discussions  always  seemed  the  prelude  to 
hard  fighting. 

The  battle  of  Messines  started  on  June  6th,  and  the 
rumble  of  the  guns  was  a  strange  accompaniment  to  the 
Coldstream  Band  which  played  to  the  battalion  on 
the  7th. 

The  battalion  marched  to  Zudausques  for  two  days' 
practice  on  the  big  range,  and  on  the  18th  left  by  buses 
for  farm  billets  about  a  mile  from  Houtkerque. 

The  attack,  which  was  not  to  take  place  for  over  a 
month,  had  already  been  thought  out  in  all  the  essential 
details,  and  only  required  to  be  practised  and  fitted 
together.  Such  minute  preparations  as  they  were  to  go 
through  had  never  been  seen  before  by  either  officers  or 
men,  and  they  created  the  liveliest  interest. 

A  large  training-ground  was  laid  out  with  a  scale  repre- 
sentation of  the  assembly  trenches  and  the  enemy  lines 
to  be  attacked  ;  orders  were  issued  as  for  the  real  thing  ; 
the  barrages  were  represented  by  flags  ;  artillery  and 
engineer  officers  took  part.  The  brigade  did  the  whole 
attack  no  less  than  six  times.  The  Corps  Commander, 
Lord  Cavan,  watched  the  practice,  and  some  of  his  sub- 
sequent remarks  may  be  quoted  : 

"  The  men  questioned  knew  what  they  were  doing  and 
what  they  were  going  to  do.  He  emphasised  the  neces- 
sity of  each  Platoon  Commander  satisfying  himself  that 
every  man  in  the  platoon  knows  his  job  from  the  time  he 
starts  to  his  final  objective.  He  emphasised  the  necessity 
of  the  supporting  and  reserve  troops  being  given  a  free 
hand  as  to  their  route  and  stopping-places,  provided  they 
are  up  to  time  at  the  place  required.  He  considered  the 
attack  to  be  highly  creditable." 

The  polishing  went  on,  however,  under  the  energetic 
brigadier,  Lord  Henry  Seymour.    Minutes,  even  seconds. 

150  ORGANISATION  [Chap.  XI 

became  the  subject  of  vehement  argument  and  parts 
of  the  attack  were  repeated  until  everyone  knew  his 

Briefly,  the  obstacles  which  had  to  be  overcome  were 
the  canal,  with  Baboon  Trench  on  the  far  side  of  it ; 
Baboon  Support,  some  400  yards  farther  on  ;  Wood  15, 
a  strongly  fortified  spot  some  1 ,200  yards  beyond  Baboon 
Support ;  and  700  yards  beyond  the  far  edge  of  the  wood 
was  Peuplieres  Farm,  the  limit  of  the  battalion  advance. 
The  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  were  to  be  on  the 
right  and  the  201st  Regiment  (French)  on  the  left. 

It  would  be  as  well  to  consider  the  organisation  of  a 
battalion  at  this  date. 

When  the  British  Army  first  landed  in  France  the 
infantry  soldier  was  armed  with  rifle  and  bayonet.  In 
the  handling  of  these  weapons  (one  should  really  con- 
sider them  as  one  weapon)  he  was  second  to  none.  We 
have  seen  that  the  first  new  weapon  he  was  called  upon 
to  study  was  the  bomb. 

So  far  as  the  Welsh  Guards  were  concerned  they  began 
to  use  yet  another  weapon  in  November  1915,  when  they 
received  one  Lewis  Gun.  They  received  a  second  gun 
in  December  1915,  six  more  in  March  1916,  and  a  further 
eight  while  at  Mailly-Maillet  in  August  1916.  These 
dates  may  not  coincide  with  the  issue  of  Lewis  Guns  to 
other  units. 

At  first  the  Lewis  Gun  teams  were  looked  upon  as  men 
replacing  the  machine-gun  teams,  as  specialists  (as  we 
have  pointed  out,  the  machine  guns  were  almost  imme- 
diately taken  away  from  battalion  control).  When  the 
number  of  Lewis  Guns  increased  it  soon  became  apparent 
that  a  great  number  of  men  in  a  company  must  know  how 
to  manipulate  them,  so  that  casualties  could  be  easily 
replaced.  The  number  of  guns  was  again  increased  in 
1918  by  eight  in  January  and  eight  in  April — in  fact, 
there  were  so  many  they  could  not  be  manned,  although 
by  that  time  every  man  in  the  battalion  knew  all  about 
the  gun. 

From  the  very  first  bombing  practice  the  men  were 
also  instructed  in  the  use  of  rifle  grenades — the  Hales  and 

June  1917]  ORGAKLSATION  151 

a  modification  which  was  first  used  in  1917.  These  were 
dilierent  in  action  from  the  Mills  Bomb,  and  fired  from  the 
rifle  (without  bayonet)  Tvdthout  any  extra  fitting  to  the 
barrel ;  and  they  could  be  used  in  no  other  manner.  An 
attempt  was  then  made  to  standardise  the  various  bombs 
or  grenades,  and  have  one  bomb  which  could  either  be 
thrown  by  hand  or  discharged  from  the  rifle.  A  hole 
was  bored  in  the  base  of  the  Mills  Bomb,  so  that  a  short 
rod  could  be  screwed  in,  and  a  cup  to  fit  on  the  end  of 
the  rifle-barrel  and  hold  the  bomb  in  position  was  pro- 
vided ;  four  of  these  cups  were  issued  to  each  company 
on  September  8th,  1916,  and  the  number  subsequently 
increased  to  sixty-four  per  battalion. 

A  much  better  arrangement  was  introduced  in  1918  : 
an  improved  cup  and  a  plate  to  screw  on  the  bomb — the 
range  was  increased  to  about  250  yards. 

The  infantry  now  had  four  distinct  weapons  officially 
characterised  as  follows  : 

{a)  The  rifle  and  bayonet,  being  the  most  efficient 
offensive  weapon  of  the  soldier,  are  for  assault,  for  re- 
pelling attack,  or  for  obtaining  superiority  of  fire. 

(6)  The  bomb  is  the  second  weapon  of  every  N.C.O. 
and  man,  and  is  used  either  for  dislodging  the  enemy 
from  behind  cover  or  killing  him  below  ground. 

(c)  The  rifle-bomb  is  the  "  howitzer  ''  of  the  infantry, 
and  used  to  dislodge  the  enemy  from  behind  cover  and 
to  obtain  superiority  of  fire  by  driving  him  under- 

{d)  The  Lewis  Gun  is  the  weapon  of  opportunity. 

The  platoon  was  taken  as  the  smallest  unit  capable 
of  combining  these  weapons— a  section  of  Lewis  gunners, 
a  section  of  bombers,  a  section  of  rifle  bombers,  and  a 
section  of  riflemen. 

The  battalion  practised  the  attack  organised  in  this 

But  before  this  practice  was  put  to  the  test  the  bat- 
talion had  to  go  through  a  most  uncomfortable  month 
of  fatigues  in  the  battle  area.  On  July  2nd  a  move  was 
made  to  a  camp  about  one  and  a  half  miles  west  of 


152  YPRES  [Chap.  XI 

Woesten,  and  tlie  men  worked  night  and  day  at  burying 
cables  and  carrying  material  up  to  the  front  line.  Short 
practices  of  crossing  the  canal  were  gone  through,  and 
demonstrations  given  for  the  Army  Commander  (Gough) 
and  many  French  officers ;  also  demonstrations  of 

The  casualties  on  these  fatigues  were  very  heavy, 
especially  from  gas.  The  enemy  would  concentrate  a 
bombardment  on  roads  and  tracks,  and  on  places  where 
he  knew  work  was  being  done,  and  there  was  scarcely  a 
night  fatigue  when  gas-helmets  were  not  worn.  As  may 
be  imagined,  this  added  to  the  exhausting  nature  of  these 

On  the  15th  the  battalion  took  over  the  front 
line  by  Boesinghe  Chateau,  the  line  they  would 
attack  from. 

The  Prince  of  Wales  and  Gen.  Gaythorne  Hardy  visited 
the  battalion  in  this  line.  The  shelling  all  the  time  was 
heavy.  Pte.  2,361  J.  0.  Pritchard  had  a  nasty  adventure 
during  the  relief  on  the  19th.  The  enemy  shelling  had 
been  continuous  and  severe,  with  frequent  short,  crashing 
barrages  on  all  approaches  to  the  line.  Pritchard  was 
to  act  as  guide  to  one  of  the  relieving  platoons,  and  had 
to  meet  it  at  a  point  some  two  miles  away  On  his  way 
to  the  rendezvous  he  was  wounded  in  fifteen  places,  but 
he  completed  his  task  and  fainted  as  he  led  the  platoon 
into  the  front  line.  He  had  walked  three  miles  from  the 
time  he  was  hit,  and  had  to  lead  the  platoon  through  one 
of  the  enemy  crashing  barrages  while  passing  Boesinghe 
Chateau.    A  fine  example  of  endurance. 

The  new  camp  was  in  Forest  Area  near  Woesten.  It 
was  shelled  and  bombed  by  aeroplanes.  Fatigues  were 
still  called  for  until  the  29th;  1,063  L/Cpl.  Hutchings 
and  280  Pte.  Bottcher  did  good  work  getting  wounded 
men  away  in  the  midst  of  severe  shelling. 

On  July  29th  the  battalion  marched  into  the  line 
again,  but  the  1st  Guards  Brigade  had  crossed  the 
canal  on  the  27th,  and  the  new  front  line  was  now 
Baboon  Support  and  the  Support  Line  was  Baboon 

July  1917]  THE  ATTACK  153 

On  the  night  of  the  30th  the  Prince  of  Wales's  and 
No.  4  Companies  moved  across  the  canal  and  took  up 
their  battle  stations. 

The  first  assaulting  wave  was  composed  of  two  pla- 
toons of  No.  2  Company  on  the  right,  and  two  platoons 
of  No.  3  on  the  left ;  these  four  platoons  were  followed 
by  two  platoons  of  No.  4  as  "  moppers  up  "  (a  clumsy 
but  expressive  term).  The  other  half  of  Nos.  2  and  3 
Companies  made  the  second  assaulting  wave.  The  whole 
of  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  formed  the  third  wave, 
followed  by  the  remaining  half  of  No.  4  Company  as 
"  moppers  up."'  ^ 

Baboon  Trench  and  Support  had  already  been  gained 
in  a  bloodless  advance  (William  Arthuj,  a  smart  young 
officer,  took  a  patrol  as  far  as  Wood  14  that  night),  so 
there  were  only  two  objectives.  The  Blue  Line,  that  is 
to  say  the  far  side  of  Wood  15,  became  the  first  objective 
to  be  taken  by  the  first  wave.  The  second  and  third 
waves  were  then  to  go  on  to  the  second  objective  (the 
Black  Line),  and  in  due  course  the  2nd  Battalion 
Scots  and  the  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  would  go 
through  them  and  take  the  third  objective  (the  Green 
Line).  The  second  wave,  two  platoons  of  No.  2,  and  two 
platoons  of  No.  3  Companies  would  be  reformed  as  a 
reserve  to  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards. 

There  were  more  definite  orders  as  to  who  should  be 
left  out  in  this  battle,  a  point  we  will  deal  with  later, 
and  companies  were  officered  as  follows  : 

Prince  of  Wales's  Company  under  2/Lieut.  Gwynne 
Jones,  D.S.O.,  with  2/Lieuts.  Shand  and  Bonsor.  No.  2 
Company  under  Capt.  the  Earl  of  Lisburne,  with  Lieut. 
Eice  and  2/Lieut.  Baness.  No.  3  Company  under  Lieut. 
Menzies,  with  2/Lieuts.  Arthur  and  Fripp.  No.  4  Com- 
pany under  Capt.  Battye,  with  2/Lieuts.  R.  R.  Jones 
and  Hebert.  Headquarters  consisted  of  the  Command- 
ing Officer,  Lieut.  Perrins,  the  adjutant,  and  Capt. 
Arthur  Gibbs.  Lieut.  Lascelles  was  liaison  officer  to  the 
French  regiment  on  the  left. 

1  See  Appendix  B  7. 

154  YPRES  [Chap.  XI 

Zero  hour  was  3.50  a.m.,  but  owing  to  the  advance  of 
July  27th,  which  had  been  accomplished  by  the  Guards 
Division  and  the  French,  these  two  units  could  not  move 
until  zero  +  thirty- eight  minutes,  so  as  to  give  the 
divisions  on  the  right  time  to  get  up. 

All  through  the  night  counter  battery  work  with  gas- 
shells  was  carried  on.  The  morning  was  dark  and  in- 
clined to  be  wet. 

At  3.50  a.m.  the  barrage,  excepting  that  of  the  Guards 
Division  and  the  French,  commenced.  With  the  shrap- 
nel and  high  explosive  was  mixed  a  new  projectile  in  the 
shape  of  boiling  oil,  which  was  discharged  in  a  drum. 
Arthur  Gibbs  writes  that  evening  : 

"  I  should  think  the  guns  could  have  been  easily  heard 
in  England.  The  noise  on  the  Somme  was  terrSic,  but 
the  noise  during  to-day  and  all  through  last  night  was 
still  more  stupendous.  I  should  like  some  of  the  muni- 
tion makers  to  come  over  and  see  the  results  of  their 
efforts  at  home.  I  have  just  been  thinking  of  the  millions 
of  people  who  have  been  working  day  and  night  for 
months  for  a  victory  like  this.  It  would  do  them  good 
to  see  us  here.'' 

At  4.24  a.m.  the  Guards  Division  barrage  came  down 
some  200  yards  in  front  of  the  first  wave,  which  promptly 
moved  up  to  within  50  yards  of  it.  The  barrage  crept 
forward  at  the  rate  of  25  yards  a  minute,  and  no  oppo- 
sition was  met  with  until  Wood  15,  and  there  the  right 
of  the  line  was  held  up  by  machine  guns  in  a  concrete 
blockhouse  on  which  the  barrage  had  no  effect.  The 
barrage  passed,  and  the  flanks  began  to  creep  round,  but 
were  losing  distance  from  the  barrage.  It  was  then  that 
Sergt.  Bye,  having  crawled  within  a  reasonable  distance, 
rushed  forward  and  succeeded  in  getting  behind  the 
blockhouse,  where  he  proceeded  to  bomb  the  inmates. 
The  first  objective  was  then  taken,  and  the  second  and 
third  waves  went  through  the  Blue  Line  and  advanced 
on  the  second  objective.    On  the  flank  was  Wood  16, 

July  1917]  THE  ATTACK  155 

and  again  machine  guns  were  missed  by  the  barrage ; 
indeed,  they  fired  through  the  barrage  and  held  up  the 
advance.  Sergt.  Bye,  who  was  truly  inspired  that  day, 
went  forward  at  a  steady  amble,  stumbling  over  the 
uneven  ground,  so  that  with  each  fall  he  was  thought 
to  be  dead,  and  again  got  behind  the  blockhouse  and 
bombed  the  machine  gunners.  Once  more  the  line  swept 
forward  and  took  its  final  objective.  Sergt.  Bye  either 
killed,  wounded,  or  captured  over  seventy  men  in  these 
blockhouses,  and  for  these  deeds  he  received  the  Victoria 

It  was  the  first  time  men  or  officers  had  encountered 
blockhouses,  but  the  Welsh  Guards  were  not  wanting 
in  leaders  to  tackle  them.  R.  R.  Jones  rushed  one  of 
them,  and  fired  a  rifle  through  the  loophole,  killing  the 
machine  gunner,  while  his  men  dealt  with  those  trying 
to  escape  from  the  rear  ;  and  1,209  Pte.  Hughes  led  the 
way  to  another  in  Wood  16,  and,  having  killed  or  captured 
the  iimiates,  received  the  congratulations  of  the  generous 
French  troops  on  the  left,  who  were  then  able  to  go 

For  a  short  time  Colonel's  Farm  hindered  the  advance 
of  the  French,  and  the  platoons  of  Nos.  2  and  3  Com- 
panies, who  were  in  reserve  to  the  Scots  Guards,  formed 
a  flank  to  the  division,  but  at  2.45  p.m.  the  line  was 

Meanwhile  a  half-company  of  the  4th  Battalion  Grena- 
dier Guards  and  of  the  Scots  Guards,  who  formed  a  special 
brigade  carr}dng  party,  rushed  up  material  to  the  Grena- 
dier Guards  H.Q.  in  Scots  House,  and  to  the  Welsh  Guards 
H.Q.  in  Sauvage  House,  and  two  sections  of  the  55th 
Field  Company  R.E.  started  to  wire  the  Green  Line  the 
moment  it  was  captured — the  Welsh  Guards  having 
already  consolidated  the  line  in  front  of  Wood  15.  A 
pack  convoy,  under  162  Cpl.  D.  Luker,  was  also  rushed 
up  with  material. 

Arthur  Gibbs  says  : 

"  I  am  afraid  that  we  have  not  killed  many  Huns,  as 
they  ran  too  fast  for  us  long  before  we  came  up  to 

156  YPRES  [Chap.  XI 

them.  .  .  .  With  the  exception  of  the  short  check  at 
Coloners  Farm  the  French  went  through  each  objective 
side  by  side  with  our  troops,  and  farther  to  the  left  went 
considerably  beyond  their  last  objective.  The  artillery 
support  throughout  the  battle  was  magnificent:  the 
creeping  barrage  was  a  uniform  and  unmistakable  line 
behind  which  our  troops  advanced  at  a  distance  of  only 
fifty  yards  ;  the  counter  battery  work  was  so  effective 
that  the  Germans  never  put  down  an  effective  barrage. 
A  smoke  barrage  put  down  to  cover  the  forming  up  of 
the  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  and  2nd  Battalion  Scots 
Guards  behind  the  Black  Line  was  most  successful. 
Communications  worked  exceedingly  well  .  .  .  the  bri- 
gade forward  party  was  a  complete  success.  .  .  .  The 
medical  arrangements  worked  so  well  that  the  whole 
battle-field  was  cleared  of  wounded  by  10  a.m.'' 

By  3  p.m.  the  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  had 
taken  over  the  whole  of  the  Blue  Line,  and  the  Welsh 
Guards  had  moved  back  to  Elverdinghe. 

The  actual  advance  of  the  division  was  up  to  the 
banl^s  of  the  Steenbeek.  The  total  captures  of  the 
division  were  750  prisoners,  30  machine  guns,  and 
1  howitzer. 

The  casualties  of  the  battalion  were  138,  and  amongst 
them  were  the  gallant  Lieut.  K.  R.  Jones,  mortally 
wounded,  Lieuts.  Rice  and  Arthur  slightly. 

The  battle  was  now  well  launched.  It  had  started 
with  over  6,000  prisoners  and  the  gain  of  important 
ground — the  Pilkem  Ridge,  which  the  Guards  Division 
had  looked  at  for  some  months  the  previous  year  ;  but 
it  was  only  a  commencement,  and  for  some  months  the 
fighting  was  of  a  most  severe  nature. 

In  some  respects  this  third  battle  of  Ypres  was  very 
like  the  Somme.  On  July  1st,  1916,  there  was  a  big  full 
parade  attack,  which  was  held  up  on  the  left ;  on  July 
31st,  1917,  there  was  also  a  full  parade  attack,  and  it 
was  held  up  on  the  right ;  in  each  case  the  first  big  battle 
was  cut  down  to  a  series  of  bloody  struggles  for  limited 
objectives,  in  which  the  British  artillery,  concentrated 

OBJECTIVES    ON    31^.-^    JULY 

Aug.  1917]  THE  ATTACK  157 

to  a  greater  extent  than  ever  before,  blew  the  handful  of 
Germans  who  had  remained  in  that  small  area  to  pieces, 
and  enabled  the  British  infantry  to  advance  with  very- 
few  casualties — except  where  a  blockhouse  occasionally 
gave  trouble,  or,  what  seemed  more  frequently  to  be  the 
case,  troops  reached  the  point  where  the  enemy  knew 
the  barrage  would  no  longer  be  effective,  and  the  German 
gunners  would  then  concentrate  on  the  British  and  blow 
them  to  pieces,  and  the  German  infantry  would  counter- 
attack. It  was  an  artillery  battle,  and  right  gallantly 
did  the  artillery  fight  it.  But  the  difficulties  of  Ypres 
were  greater  than  those  of  the  Somme,  and  the  one  great 
difficulty,  as  at  the  Somme,  was  the  state  of  the  ground. 
As  ducks  puddle  a  pond  so  did  the  artillery  puddle  this 
ground  until  the  water  could  not  sink,  and,  if  it  ran 
at  all,  did  so  from  one  shell-hole  to  another — and  then 
apparently  back  again.  Also,  from  the  individual 
soldier's  point  of  view,  which  had  nothing  to  do  with 
the  larger  tactical  situation,  the  capture  of  one  ridge 
always  exposed  another  on  which  the  enemy  was  firmly 

In  one  important  respect  the  experience  of  the  division 
at  the  third  battle  of  Ypres  differed  from  the  battle  of 
the  Somme — they  did  not  see  so  many  dead  Germans, 
and  Arthur  Gibbs's  lament  was  echoed  throughout  the 

As  at  the  battle  of  the  Somme  progress  was  slow,  but 
the  organisation  to  surmount  the  difficulties  was  ex- 
tremely well  thought  out.  A  swarm  of  pioneers  followed 
close  on  the  heels  of  the  assaulting  troops,  and  roads  of 
some  sort  were  constructed,  and  guns  and  supplies  got 
up  to  the  line.  The  third  battle  of  Ypres  was  a  great 

The  battalion  rested  after  the  attack  in  a  camp  near 
Zommerbloom  Cabaret,  on  the  south-west  side  of  the 
Elverdinghe — Woesten  Road,  and  before  going  into  the 
line  again  on  August  4th  lost  the  services  of  Allan  Perrins, 
who  had  been  adjutant  since  the  battalion  arrived  in 
France.  A  cheerful,  active,  hard-working  fellow,  who 
could  keep  his  own  counsel ;   he  was  a  great  loss  to  the 

158  YPRES  [Chap.  XI 

battalion — but  tbe  staff  is  the  road  a  successful  adjutant 
generally  takes,  and  so  Perrins  went  to  the  XIV  Corps. 
He  was  succeeded  by  Geoffrey  Devas. 

The  Commanding  Officer  being  on  leave,  Luxmoore 
Ball  took  the  battalion  into  the  line,  which  was  along 
the  bank  of  the  Steenbeek  to  the  west  of  Ruisseau 

The  line  was  not  a  trench,  but  rather  a  series  of  forti- 
fied shell-holes,  which  was  perhaps  fortunate,  as  the 
enemy's  artillery  fire  was  very  severe ;  but  he  did  not 
know  the  precise  position  of  troops,  and  casualties  were 
small — the  best  shooting  was  made  on  known  spots  such 
as  Battalion  H.Q.  at  Captain  Farm,  the  Prince  of  Wales's 
and  No.  2  Companies  H.Q.  at  Signal  Farm,  and  at 
Fourche  Farm,  where  the  other  two  companies  had 

Some  good  patrol  work  was  done  by  Battye  and  Bonn, 
who  found  some  undamaged  bridges  across  the  Steen- 
beek ;  but  otherwise  there  was  nothing  of  note,  and  the 
4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  took  over  the  line  on 
the  6th. 

The  battalion  marched  to  Elverdinghe — a  heavy, 
tiring  march  through  the  lines  of  guns  which  had 
already  crossed  the  canal — and  entrained  for  Proven, 
arriving  at  4.30  a.m.  and  finding  quarters  in  Petworth 

H.R.H.  the  Prince  of  Wales  visited  the  camp  on  the 
9th  and  went  round  his  company  lines,  and  on  the  25th 
the  3rd  Brigade  was  inspected  by  Gen.  Antoine,  com- 
manding the  First  French  Army,  who  presented  the  fol- 
lowing with  decorations  :  Lieut.-Col.  Douglas  Gordon, 
2/Lieut.  Lascelles,  2,254  Cpl.  T.  J.  Evans,  2,270  Pte.  T.  L. 
Evans,  1,870  Pte.  T.  G.  Hill  with  the  Croix  de  Guerre, 
and  Sergt.-Major  Bland  with  the  Medaille  Militaire  and 
the  Croix  de  Guerre. 

Strengthened  by  drafts  of  150  men  and  Lieut.  Har- 
greaves,  2/Lieuts.  Ballard,  Webb,  and  Tennant,  the 
battalion  went  by  train  to  Elverdinghe  on  the  27th  and 
camped  at  Bleuet  Farm  ;  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards 
were  relieved  in  the  front  line,  which  was  now  to  the  left 

t.  *i    <^ 

■  '        o 
,  <    ■       ^  « .    .  1.      ^ 

r«  ,<4. 


'J!    / 

Sept.  1917]  LANGEMARK  159 

of  Langemark  and  on  the  banks  of  the  Broembeek,  on 
the  31st. 

It  will  be  remembered  that  the  XIV  Corps  was  part  of 
the  Fifth  Army  (Gough),  and  on  this  army  had  fallen  most 
of  the  fighting  up  to  this  date.  In  September  the  Second 
Army  (Plumer — "  Good  old  Plum,"  as  the  troops  called 
him)  took  charge  from  the  southern  extremity  of  the 
attack  to  south  of  Langemark,  and  the  series  of  fierce 
fights  round  and  about  Polygon  Wood  took  place,  win- 
ning ground  all  the  time,  but  none  of  them  planned  to 
go  to  any  great  depth,  and  consisting  for  the  most  part 
of  easy  advances,  immediately  followed  by  bitter  counter- 
attacks strongly  pressed  with  strong  forces. 

Langemark  therefore  came  in  for  some  severe  shelling, 
although  no  advance  was  attempted  at  that  point.  The 
line  was  held  by  shell-hole  posts,  and  they  were  very 
scattered.  The  danger  of  enemy  attack  too  was  ever 
imminent.  Ptes.  2,138  J.  Lloyd  Roberts,  2,661  J. 
Lewis,  2,759  T.  Griffiths,  and  2,851  T.  Evans  were  names 
of  men  that  were  noted  as  having  remained  at  duty 
though  wounded  (Lewis  in  seven  places),  and  to  remain 
at  duty  meant  that  they  were  squatting,  wet  to  the 
skin,  in  mud-filled  shell-holes. 

The  battalion  was  relieved  by  the  2nd  Battalion  Cold- 
stream Guards  on  the  4th,  and  until  September  21st 
worked  on  forward  fatigues  from  the  camp  at  De  Wippe 
Cabaret  and  from  Eton  Camp.  During  this  last  tour  of 
duty,  however,  the  regiment  lost  a  charming  young 
officer,  Tennant,  a  clever  youngster  who  had  shown  in 
the  few  days  he  had  been  in  action  the  greatest  contempt 
for  danger. 

The  next  move  was  via  Petworth  Camp  to  Herzelle  on 
the  22nd,  and  here,  billeted  in  farm-houses  amidst  green 
trees,  a  programme  of  training  for  attack  was  carried  out. 
The  idea  was  open  fighting,  and  the  training  ended  in  a 
brigade  field  day. 

Some  effort  was  made  at  this  time  to  speed  up  the 
signalling  section  of  the  battalion.  It  was  a  difficult 
problem.  Given  highly  trained  men,  it  did  not  present 
insuperable  difiiculties,  but  many  months  of  training  are 

160  YPRES  [Chap.  XI 

required  to  get  the  ideal  signaller,  and  he  is  as  vulnerable 
as  any  other  man  to  wounds  and  sickness.  The  problem 
for  the  battalion  in  action  was  not  one  of  laying  wires 
and  shouting  down  a  telephone ;  experience  has  shown 
that  wires  do  not  stand  two  minutes  through  a  bombard- 
ment ;  the  alternative  was  visual  signals. 

Sergt.  Hughes  was  in  command  of  the  signallers,  and 
was  a  good,  hard-working  signaller;  Sergt.  Thomas 
and  Sergt.  Couch  were  also  good  men.  But  they  had 
a  difficult  job.  It  is  curious  that  we  never  adopted 
any  system  of  rockets  or  Verey  lights.  The  problem 
of  communication  in  the  barrage  area  has  yet  to  be 

On  the  29th  the  battalion  moved  to  Paddington  Camp 
near  Proven,  and  heard  they  would  attack  again  on 
October  10th. 

The  activity  of  the  "Forward  Area"  enveloped  all 
the  country  round  Proven ;  the  roads  were  thick  with 
traffic  all  the  way  up  to  the  fighting  lines,  and  enemy 
aeroplanes  were  busy  at  night. 

A  great  stride  had  been  made  by  this  time  in  anti- 
aircraft measures.  Since  1916  searchlights  abounded, 
and  at  night,  when  the  warning  drone  of  an  enemy 
machine  was  heard,  the  sky  would  be  lit  up  with  criss- 
cross shafts ;  when  found,  the  aeroplane  appeared  as  a 
ghostly  grey  moth  with  a  silver  sheen  on  it.  Tracer 
bullets  were  being  used,  and  guns  were  plentiful. 

As  the  war  progressed  it  became  more  and  more  in- 
sisted upon  that,  when  arrangements  were  once  made,  no 
alteration  or  modification  could  be  permitted  even  with 
a  battle  in  view.  Jack  Crawshay  had  been  dragged  out 
of  the  battle  on  the  Somme  to  go  on  a  Lewis  Gun  course, 
and,  trying  to  gallop  across  country  in  the  dark,  had  fallen 
from  his  horse  and  put  his  shoulder  out,  an  accident 
which  took  him  home.  It  had  now  been  arranged  that 
Luxmoore  Ball  should  go  to  England  on  a  senior  officers' 
course  at  Aldershot,  and,  although  the  Commanding 
Officer  had  gone  to  Paris  on  leave,  and  an  action  was 
pending,  Ball  had  to  go.  He  left  on  the  4th  and  Major 
Jack  Stirling,  of  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards,  com- 

«i    ^ 

Oct.   1917]  HOUTHULST   FOREST  161 

manded  the  battalion  until  Lieut.-Col.  Douglas  Gordon 
returned  from  Paris. 

On  the  5th  a  forward  move  was  made  to  Cambridge 
Camp,  near  Elverdinghe,  and  on  the  8th  the  battalion 
moved  up  to  Wood  15,  the  brigade  being  in  reserve  for 
the  attack.' 

The  attack  was  a  short  one,  and  had  for  its  objective 
a  line  south  of  Houthulst  Forest.  The  1st  Guards  Bri- 
gade was  on  the  right,  and  the  2nd  Guards  Brigade  on 
the  left ;  on  the  right  of  the  division  was  the  86th  Brigade 
of  the  29th  Division,  and  on  the  left  the  French. 

Battalion  H.Q.  was  in  Saules  Farm — or  rather  in  a 
German  pill-box  near  that  farm,  which  was  occupied  by 
the  brigade.  Houthulst  Forest  was  at  the  top  of  the 
usual  sort  of  ridge  found  in  the  Ypres  district,  and  quite 
a  lot  of  the  ridge  could  be  seen  from  the  top  of  the  pill- 

It  was  one  of  the  few  occasions  when  the  battalion 
could  sit  as  at  a  theatre  and  watch  a  battle  in  progress. 

On  the  left  of  Battalion  H.Q.  was  a  row  of  other  pill- 
boxes occupied  by  French  artillery  officers,  who  had  their 
batteries  just  in  front  (the  well-known  advice  not  to 
camp  near  batteries  was  lost  here,  as  the  whole  country 
was  one  vast  gun-park),  and  at  zero  hour,  5.30  a.m.,  on 
October  9th  the  French  and  British  guns  opened  with 
that  volume  of  noise  made  new  to  the  world  by  this 
war,  and  which  was  a  continual  fascination  to  all  who 
heard  it. 

On  the  tops  of  the  pill-boxes,  of  every  mound  of  earth, 
even  on  stumps  of  trees,  clustered  little  groups  of  in- 
terested watchers  with  field-glasses  and  telescopes.  The 
French  officers  made  themselves  comfortable  with  chairs 
and  tables  for  their  maps,  and  all — guns,  observers  and 
spectators — were  in  full  view  of  the  enemy. 

The  French  75  mm.  batteries  put  up  a  w^onderful  bar- 
rage, but  there  was  little  to  choose  between  them  and 
the  British.  Like  a  distant  shower  on  the  ocean  the 
barrage  crept  forward,  and  behind  it  the  brown  line  of 

1  Appendix  B  8t 

162  YPRES  [Chap.  XI 

British  soldiers  and  the  blue  line  of  French.  They  dis- 
appeared amongst  the  smoke  and  trees. 

All  objectives  were  captured  and  the  battalion  was 
not  wanted  that  day  ;  but  at  9  p.m.  the  following  evening 
the  battalion  relieved  the  2nd  Battalion  Grenadier  and 
1st  Battalion  Coldstream  Guards,  having  to  pass  through 
a  German  barrage  which  was  suddenly  put  down  on  the 
line  of  the  Broembeek.  The  march  up  to  the  relief  was 
fearful — the  mud  appalling,  the  ground  so  cut  up  that 
it  was  no  longer  possible  to  go  round  shell-holes,  which 
had  to  be  taken  as  they  came,  the  men  sliding  in  and 
clambering  out. 

Arthur  Gibbs  took  over  the  right  of  the  line,  with  Bon- 
sor  and  Fripp  ;  and  the  left  was  taken  by  Battye  and 
Taylor,  Hebert  and  Newall.  Roderick,  with  No.  3,  and 
Bonn,  with  No.  2,  took  up  shell-hole  positions  in  support, 
but  their  lot  was  not  enviable,  as  they  were  shelled  from 
pillar  to  post,  and  were  for  ever  moving  backward  and 
forward  trying  to  avoid  the  enemy  barrage. 

Headquarters  was  in  Louvois  Farm,  a  dugout  of  fair 
proportions  and  doubtful  strength,  and  was  the  point 
which  everyone  made  for  who  had  any  business  anywhere 
in  the  front  line.  Besides  the  headquarters  stafl:  under 
Drill-Sergt.  Roberts,  there  were  always  several  gunners 
or  Engineers  who  dropped  in  to  get  a  little  shelter  from 
the  shells. 

The  3rd  Guards  Brigade,  which  held  the  whole  of  the 
Divisional  Front,  and  the  8th  French  Infantry  Regiment 
on  the  left,  were  now  in  a  pronounced  salient,  and  the 
line  had  to  be  brought  up  level  on  the  right.  An  attack 
was  therefore  ordered  for  October  12th,  to  pivot  on  the 
French,  but  it  hardly  affected  the  Welsh  Guards,  whose 
greatest  advance,  on  the  right,  was  only  about  200  yards. 
This  was  carried  out  on  the  11th,  thanks  to  a  patrol 
under  1,795  L/Sergt.  Johnson— sent  out  by  Arthur  Gibbs 
as  soon  as  he  had  taken  over  the  line — who  discovered 
that  a  blockhouse  reported  held  by  the  enemy  was 
vacant.  Gibbs  promptly  occupied  the  post  with  a  couple 
of  Lewis  Guns,  and  had  several  slight  brushes  with  the 
enemy  patrols,  but  no  serious  attempt  was  made  by  them 

Oct.   1917]        THE   GROUM)  GAINED  163 

to  retake  the  place.  So  when  the  attack  started  on  the 
12th  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  were  already  in 
position  on  their  objective. 

On  the  left  Percy  Battye  joined  the  French.  For  a 
long  time  all  was  very  quiet,  and  Battye  came  to  the 
conclusion  that  the  enemy  had  retired  on  his  front.  He 
therefore  sent  out  2,169  L/Cpl.  Davies,  with  Ptes.  859 
Wallace,  2,849  Smith,  and  2,259  AVaddington  to  examine 
the  ground  up  to  the  forest.  It  was  broad  daylight  and 
the  men  were  armed  with  their  rifles  and  apparently  a 
couple  of  bombs  each.  After  going  about  200  yards  Cpl. 
Davies  came  across  a  trench  which  appeared  unoccupied, 
but  on  going  nearer  he  discovered  it  to  be  full  of  the 
enemy.  The  first  man  who  saw  him  held  up  his  hands, 
and  he  and  his  men  threw  in  bombs.  Immediately 
shouts  and  cries  and  a  forest  of  hands  went  up  from  the 
trench,  and  for  a  moment  the  small  patrol  must  have 
been  thrilled  with  the  idea  that  they  were  going  to  make 
a  big  capture  ;  but  a  German  down  the  line  saw  that 
there  w^ere  only  four  British  in  the  patrol  and  began  to 
shoot,  wounding  Smith,  and  then  the  Germans  took  heart 
and  made  the  mistake  of  trying  to  capture  the  patrol. 
A  dozen  or  so  climbed  out  of  the  trench  and  tried  to  lay 
hands  on  the  men  who  were  attempting  to  get  their 
wounded  comrade  off.  Davies  wisely  decided  to  leave 
him,  and  with  his  two  remaining  men  ran  for  the  com- 
pany lines,  but  was  himself  hit  on  the  w^ay.  In  the  con- 
fusion the  other  two  got  off  safely,  and  a  French  mitrail- 
leuse caught  the  Germans  and  drove  them  back  to  their 
trench  with  loss.  Waddington  then  went  out  alone  and 
brought  in  Cpl.  Davies.  The  enemy,  however,  got  Smith 
and  their  own  wounded  during  the  night,  although  Wad- 
dington and  Wallace  made  further  attempts  with  the 
failing  light  of  evening  to  get  him. 

The  advance  was  made  with  no  opposition,  but  the 
battalion  came  in  for  all  the  enemy  barrage  and  subse- 
quent shell-fire  when  the  rest  of  the  brigade  did  attack 
on  the  12th,  and  until  the  relief  by  the  2nd  Battalion 
Coldstream  Guards  on  the  13th  the  casualties  were  heavy. 
Poor  young  Newall  was  killed  while  having  a  duel  with 

164  YPRES  [Chap.  XI 

a  German  sniper,  Taylor  and  Hebert  were  wounded  by 
shell-fire  (Hebert  while  crossing  the  Broembeek,  but  led 
his  platoon  into  the  line),  and  Fripp  fell  on  a  bayonet  in 
the  dark  and  received  a  nasty  gash.  Bonn  and  Roderick 
were  at  first  driven  from  one  lot  of  shell-holes  to  another, 
but  finally  had  to  abandon  all  shell-holes  owing  to  the 
rain  and  had  to  sit  about  in  the  mud.  First  Bonn  and 
then  Roderick  came  into  headquarters  and  reported 
moving  their  companies,  and  as  they  became  more  and 
more  tired  Roderick  became  more  gentle  in  manner  and 
Bonn  got  louder  and  drawled  worse  than  ever. 

One  of  the  greatest  annoyances  came  from  a  heavy 
gun  of  our  own  which  was  firing  short.  Nothing  could 
apparently  stop  it,  although  it  was  causing  casualties. 
In  desperation  Jack  Stirling  loosed  the  pigeons  to  Corps 
H.Q.  with  rude  messages.  Still  it  went  on  shooting  the 
battalion  in  the  back.  The  Prince  of  Wales  came  up  to 
the  line,  and  the  gun  started  to  drop  shells  all  round  him, 
so  that  he  and  Gen.  Gaythorne  Hardy  had  to  double 
across  to  some  pill-boxes  in  the  Grenadier  lines.  With 
great  delight  this  incident  was  reported,  but  had  no 
result.  Finally  Col.  Vickery,  commanding  the  brigade  of 
field-artillery  behind  the  battalion,  was  chased  by  this 
gun  all  the  way  from  the  Broembeek  to  Louvois  Farm. 
His  language  was  picturesque  and  profane.  About  two 
hours  after  he  had  left  the  front  line  the  gun,  for  some 
reason  or  other,  fired  no  more — or  else  confined  its  atten- 
tion to  the  enemy. 

The  Commanding  Officer  returned  from  Paris  on  the 
12th,  and  the  battalion  marched  out  in  pitch  darkness 
and  arrived  at  Larrie  Camp,  near  Elverdinghe,  in  the 
early  morning  of  the  14th.  They  were  wet  to  the  skin 
and  covered  with  mud  from  head  to  foot.  The  camp  was 
bombed  by  aeroplanes  during  the  morning.  On  the  16th 
the  battalion  left  for  Watten,  passing  through  a  camp  in 
the  forest  area  and  Paddock  Wood  Camp  at  Proven, 
whence  the  journey  was  completed  by  train.  From 
Watten — where  Humphrey  Dene,  recovered  from  his 
illness,  met  them — the  battalion  marched  to  Serques  on 
October  20th. 


Oct.   1917]  HOUTHULST  FOREST  165 

The  losses  of  the  battalion  in  the  third  battle  of  Ypres 
were  far  less  than  they  had  been  in  the  Somme,  and  the 
total  casualties  of  the  period  only  came  to  451.  The 
battle  went  on  till  November,  and  the  total  number  of 
captures  by  the  British  were  24,065  prisoners,  74  guns, 
941  machine  guns,  138  trench-mortars. 



The  battalion  was  quartered  at  Serques  from  October 
20th  to  November  9th.  St.  Omer  was  within  easy  reach, 
and  nearer  still  was  the  small  town  of  Watten,  but,  how- 
ever small  and  insignificant  the  town,  provided  it  was 
not  knocked  about  and  was  able  to  carry  on  something 
like  normal  commerce,  it  always  proved  an  irresistible 
attraction  for  troops.  It  will  be  found  that  the  Welshman 
makes  the  smartest  of  soldiers — he  has  in  him  a  natural 
inclination  for  "  cutting  a  dash  " — and  the  moment  he 
arrived  near  any  civilian-inhabited  place  he  would  take 
an  extra  pride  in  his  appearance.  Consequently  when 
the  Duke  of  Connaught  paid  a  surprise  visit  on  the  21st, 
and  the  troops  lined  the  streets  of  Serques,  they  pre- 
sented a  most  creditable  appearance,  in  spite  of  the  fact 
that  they  had  only  just  come  out  of  battle. 

A  few  days  later,  the  25th,  the  Commander-in-Chief, 
Sir  Douglas  Haig,  inspected  the  whole  division  at  Inglin- 
gham.  These  inspections  were  the  occasions  for  ironic 
cheers  and  laughter  in  the  privacy  of  company  messes. 
There  was  always  a  fierce  discussion  whether  such  a  thing 
as  quarter  column  still  existed,  or  whether  it  was  done 
away  with  by  the  drill-book  of  1914.  By  some  it  was 
called  quarter  column,  and  by  others  column  of  half 
companies — no  one  attempted  to  used  the  Avord  "  mass.'* 
On  this  occasion  companies  were  limited  to  120  and  3 
officers,  and  the  parade  was  drawn  up  in  a  fashion  which 
was  neither  quarter  column  nor, strictly  speaking, column 
or  close  column  of  half  companies.     The  march  past  was 


Oct.  1917]  SERQUES  167 

on  a  rough  field  and  a  terrific  gale  of  wind  was  blowing  ; 
it  will  therefore  be  appreciated  that  it  was  not  too  easy 
as  a  parade.  However,  the  men  did  well,  and  for  the 
first  time  saw  Sir  Douglas  Haig,  who  gave  the  impression 
of  being  tired — his  eyes  were  dull  and  his  face  a  grey 

Gen.  Antoine,  who  was  a  great  favourite  in  the  divi- 
sion, was  also  to  inspect  the  whole  unit  a  few  days  later, 
but,  after  marching  to  the  parade  ground  the  inspection 
was  cancelled  owing  to  the  bad  weather ;  he  did,  however, 
present  decorations  to  officers,  Percy  Battye  receiving 
the  Croix  de  Guerre. 

The  inhabitants  of  Serques  were  very  hospitable  people, 
and  made  ofiicers  and  men  as  comfortable  as  possible. 
And  at  least  the  question  so  often  asked  in  other  towns — 
'*  Where  are  all  the  pretty  women  of  France  ?  '' — did  not 
apply  to  Serques,  where  dwelt  certainly  one  of  the 
prettiest  girls  in  France.  Her  mother  kept  an  estaminet, 
but,  although  the  daughter  attracted  a  number  of  people 
to  drink  coffee,  no  payment  was  accepted. 

The  chief  events  at  Serques  were  race  meetings  held 
at  Inglingham  on  October  28th  and  November  4th. 
Humphrey  Dene  rode  his  horse  "  Nato  "  and  the  Com- 
manding Officer's  horse  "  Charles,"  and  Percy  Battye 
the  No.  4  Company  horse,  a  stiff-legged,  hard-mouthed 
brute  called  "  Dick,"  but  they  were  outclassed.  The 
divisional  train  found  some  top-hats  and  frock-coats 
and  introduced  the  flourishing  firm  of  "  Pilckem  and 
Bilckem  "  ;  on  this  occasion  they  made  money,  but  were 
not  always  so  fortunate.  Altogether  two  good  days  of 

The  billets  were  somewhat  scattered.  Battye  and  his 
company  were  away  near  Watten  in  some  farmhouses, 
and  led  a  solitary  though  happy  existence.  Roderick 
and  No.  3  were  half  a  mile  nearer,  but  even  so  a  good 
mile  from  headquarters.  The  Prince  of  Wales's,  No.  2, 
and  the  transport  under  Goetz  were  in  the  village. 

The  battalion  now  consisted  of  :  headquarters — Lieut. 
Col.  Douglas  Gordon,  Major  Humphrey  Dene,  Capt. 
Devas  (Adjutant),  Lieut.  Martin  Smith  (Assistant  Adju- 


168  SERQUES  [Chap.  XII 

tant),  Lieut.  Dudley  Ward  (signalling  officer)  ;  Prince  of 
Wales's  Company — Capt.  Arthur  Gibbs  (on  a  month's 
leave),  Lieut.  Devereux,  2/Lieuts.  Bonsor,  E.  J.  Davies, 
and  Llewellyn  ;  No.  2  Company— Capt.  the  Earl  of  Lis- 
burne,  Capt.  Bonn,  2/Lieuts.  Dickens,  Webb,  Borough ; 
No.  3  Company — Capt.  Eoderick,  Lieut.  Menzies, 
2/Lieuts.  Kearton,  Ballard,  and  Baness  ;  No.  4  Com- 
pany— Capt.  Battye,  2/Lieuts.  Hargreaves,  Bowyer, 
Wreford  Brown. 

During  the  stay  at  Serques  Lord  Cavan  was  sent  out 
to  Italy,  and  for  a  time  there  was  a  rumour  that  the 
Guards  Division  would  go  too. 

On  November  9th  the  division  left  the  XIV  Corps  and 
started  on  a  march  to  the  St.  Pol  district,  the  First  Army 
area,  where  it  would  be  in  G.H.Q.  reserve.  The  route 
was  through  Enguinegatte  and  Heuchin  to  Buneville — a 
fine  country,  well  timbered,  with  beautiful  autumn-tint 
vistas  from  the  summits  of  the  rolling  hills.  The  j  ourney 
was  accomplished  without  incident  beyond  a  farcical 
dispute  at  Heuchin — one  of  the  most  hospitable  towns 
encountered — between  one  of  the  inhabitants  and  the 
Prince  of  Wales's  Company  : 

"  A  somewhat  prim  young  man  came  in  with  a  formid- 
able blue  paper,  and  said  a  claim  had  been  made  against 
the  men  for  taking  straw  and  spoiling  some  grain.  We 
went  to  the  barn  and  the  men  admitted  taking  what 
seemed  to  them  some  used  straw.  The  prim  man  became 
excited  at  once,  said  it  was  unthreshed  straw,  dived  into 
a  corner  and  produced  a  handful  of  grain  and  chaff, 
which  he  said  was  ruined,  and  claimed  that  the  damage 
was  great.  He  would  bring  the '  Adjoint '  next  morning, 
he  said,  to  value  the  stuff.  The  next  morning  there  was 
a  great  meeting  in  the  barn — Dene,  the  prim  young  man 
(who  turned  out  to  be  the  Mayor's  nephew  deputising 
for  his  uncle),  the  *  Garde  Champetre,'  the  '  Adjoint,'  and 
the  whole  platoon  who  were  in  that  barn.  The  prim 
young  man  began  to  state  the  claim,  when  suddenly  the 
Adjoint,  a  sprightly  old  gentleman  of  some  eighty 
summers,  pounced  on  the  straw  with  a  scream  of  indigna- 

Nov.  1917]  BUNEVILLE  169 

tion,  and,  holding  up  a  handful,  asked  six  or  seven  times, 
regardless  of  any  reply,  if  this  was  the  straw  ?  Then 
threw  it  on  the  ground  and  called  the  claimant  a  dis- 
honest thief,  and  announced  that  it  was  old  straw  and 
not  worth  anything.  The  claimant  began  to  shout  out 
a  long  story  about  his  grain,  but  the  old  boy  replied  that 
as  he  had  started  to  claim  about  old  straw  he  would  have 
nothing  more  to  do  with  the  case.  He  then  walked  out 
with  gesticulations !  Claimant  followed,  Prim  Young 
Man  followed,  Garde  Champ etre  followed,  all  talking  and 
gesticulating,  and  so  disappeared  down  the  street.  Com- 
plete victory  for  us  !  Dene,  puffing  at  a  small  and  very 
foul  pipe,  his  hands  deep  in  his  pockets,  and  his  lean  jaw 
stuck  out,  says  :  *  They  are  crazy.  .  .  .  Alphonse  has 
gone  crazy.  .  .  .  He  has  bats  in  the  belfry.  .  .  .  Come 
on  and  see  *'  Lizzie  "  '  (Lisburne)." 

The  battalion  stayed  a  week  at  Buneville,  training  in 
open  warfare  and  outposts.  There  was  a  secret  confer- 
ence at  divisional  headquarters,  but  the  secret  was  very 
well  kept,  and  in  spite  of  excitement  and  rumours  con- 
cerning numbers  of  tanks  which  had  been  seen,  no  one 
seems  to  have  suspected  any  further  action  for  the 
division  beyond  taking  over  a  new  line  from  the  French. 
The  general  feeling  in  the  battalion  at  that  moment 
seems  to  have  been  that  the  Italians  were  right  out  of 
the  war,  and  that  it  would  go  on  for  years.  To  most 
people  their  next  leave  was  the  limit  of  their  vision,  and 
the  most  cheery  men  to  talk  to  were  Dene  and  Jack 
Stirling  of  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards.  Stirling 
never  talked  of  the  war  in  a  local  sense  ;  he  was  always 
full  of  news  as  to  the  condition  of  Germany,  of  troops 
drawn  ofi  the  Western  Front  by  some  demonstration 
or  other,  and  of  French,  British  and  American  man- 
power. Dene  was  less  interested  in  state-craft  and 
strategy  than  fighting,  and  expressed  himself  em- 
phatically :  "For  heaven's  sake !  let  us  go  forward  and 
fight.  .  .  .  Let  us  finish  the  war.  I  don't  want  to  live 
hoping  for  a  billet  behind  the  line — and  what  a  billet ! 
— or  leave  every  three  months  !     Give  me  discomfort, 

170  BUNEVILLE  [Chap.  XII 

anything  you  like,  for  six  or  ten  months,  and  let  us 
finish  the  thing  !  " 

But  the  signs  of  something  like  active  war  were  in- 
creasing. Buneville  was  to  be  left  and  orders  were  given 
to  reduce  kit,  a  dump  for  surplus  kit  being  made  at 
St.  Pol. 

The  division  moved  on  the  17th,  and  the  battalion, 
marching  via  Grand  Rullecourt,  learned  at  Berles  au 
Bois  what  the  plan  was.  As  at  first  explained,  there  were 
to  be  two  attacks — the  southern  one  (which  did  take 
place)  and  a  northern  one  to  cut  in  above  Marquion — and 
the  combined  operations  would,  it  was  hoped,  result  in 
the  fall  of  Cambrai.  When  the  line  had  been  pierced  the 
division  were  to  go  through  the  gap  with  cavalry.  No 
details  were  given ;  it  was  just  a  broad  indication, 
summed  up  in  even  more  condensed  fashion  by  Lisburne, 
who  said,  "  We  are  supposed  to  capture  Cambrai !  " 

The  battalion  was  now  in  the  shell- devastated  area. 
Berles  au  Bois  was  within  a  few  hundred  yards  of  the  line 
which  the  enemy  had  evacuated  in  the  spring,  but  there 
were  still  habitable  houses,  though  most  of  them  were 
scarred,  and  a  few  civilians. 

The  policy  of  limiting  companies  was  again  followed, 
and  Bonsor,  Llewellyn,  and  Ballard  departed  with  200 
men  to  Bus  les  Artois.  The  battalion  proceeded  to 
Achiet  le  Petit,  where  it  remained  until  the  22nd. 

The  march  to  Achiet  le  Petit  was  of  the  greatest  in- 
terest to  a  battalion  which  had  not  been  in  that  part  of 
the  country  since  the  battle  of  the  Somme.  Already 
companies  of  coolies  were  clearing  the  wire  and  debris 
from  the  ground  ;  in  many  places  the  peasants  were  back 
on  their  reconquered  farms,  and  had  ploughed  up  their 
fields ;  at  Bienvillers  and  Bucquoy  there  were  one  or 
two  lath-and-plaster  cottages  with  red-tile  roofs.  The 
camp  (canvas)  was  outside  the  village  Achiet  le  Petit, 
of  which  very  little  remained. 

The  battle  started  on  the  20th,  and  from  that  moment 
the  battalion  was  under  two  hours'  notice  to  move.  All 
sorts  of  rumours  came  drifting  in  ;  the  first  official  news 
was  on  the  21st,  when  it  was  announced  that  Flesquieres 

Nov.  1917]  CAMBRAI  171 

and  Moeuvres  were  captured,  and  that  the  gallant  51st 
Division  were  moving  to  attack  Bourlon  Wood.  The 
cavalry  had  crossed  the  Canal  de  L'Escaut,  and  the 
III  Corps  held  the  greater  part  of  Gonnelieu  Spur.  On 
the  22nd  the  battalion  marched  about  2  a.m. 

The  approach  to  the  battle  was  most  confused.  The 
first  stage  was  by  bus  to  Rocquigny,  arriving  there  at 
8.30  a.m.,  and  leaving  early  on  the  23rd  for  Beaumetz. 
But  no  very  long  halt  was  made  there,  and  that  night 
the  brigade  marched  in  single  file  across  country  \da 
Doignies,  Demicourt,  and  Graincourt  to  Flesquieres,  the 
division  coming  under  the  orders  of  the  IV  Corps.  The 
night  was  dark  and  the  track  soft  and  heavy  ;  no  one 
knew  where  they  were  going,  and  the  difficulties  of  keep- 
ing touch  were  enormous.  The  Welsh  Guards  were  the 
rear  battalion,  and  spent  long  periods  either  waiting  by 
the  side  of  the  muddy  track  or  doubling  wildly  after 
disappearing  men  in  front  of  them.  However,  the  bat- 
talion eventually  took  over  German  dugouts  from  some 
of  the  weary  51st  Division  in  the  early  morning  of  the 

The  fighting  on  that  part  of  the  front  which  affects  us 
was  in  the  order  of  events  as  follows.  The  51st  Division 
had  captured  Flesquieres  on  the  21st,  and  towards  the 
evening  had  also  taken  the  village  of  Fontaine  Notre 
Dame,  due  east  of  Bourlon  Wood.  But  the  surprise  of 
the  British  attack  was  over,  and  the  enemy  ready  to 
counter-attack  with  strong  forces.  On  the  22nd  the 
51st  Division  lost  Fontaine  ;  it  attacked  again  on  the 
23rd  without  result.  On  the  left  of  the  51st  Division 
was  the  40th  Division,  both  being  controlled  by  the  IV 
Corps,  and  the  latter  operating  against  Bourlon  Wood. 
The  situation  on  the  evening  of  the  23rd  was  not  very 
clear,  as  a  wire  timed  7  p.m.  states  (to  Third  Army)  : 
"  Situation  indefinite,  but  R.F.C.  are  certain  we  hold 
Fontaine  and  Bourlon  Village.  Situation  at  Moeuvres 
still  doubtful,  but  south  position  at  least  probably  held 
by  us'' ;  and  at  11.34  p.m.  the  Third  Army  instructs  : 
"  The  success  of  to-day's  operations  must  be  assured  at 
all  costs,  and  if  the  leading  brigade  of  the  40th  Division 

172  CAMBRAI  [Chap.  XII 

have  suffered  heavily  they  should  be  relieved  by  their 
reserves  or  reinforced  by  part  of  the  Guards  Division/' 

The  40th  Division  was  counter-attacked  and  driven 
from  the  high  ground  in  Bourlon  Wood.  The  operations 
which  followed  were  of  a  piecemeal  description.  The 
2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  were  attached  to  the  40th 
Division  ;  the  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  were  soon 
after  placed  under  the  orders  of  the  2nd  Guards  Brigade, 
and  so  were  the  Welsh  Guards. 

The  scene  round  Flesquieres  was  unbelievable.  Com- 
panies were  quartered  round  the  cross-roads  to  the  west 
of  Flesquieres,  and  headquarters  was  in  a  small  quarry 
on  the  south  of  the  village.  Looking  from  the  high 
ground  towards  Havrincourt  Wood,  the  line  of  advance 
was  revealed  by  the  tank  tracks,  by  the  dead  bodies  of 
the  enemy,  and  by  abandoned  equipment  of  all  kinds. 
On  the  crest  of  the  rise  lay  seven  battered  tanks,  the 
work,  it  was  said,  of  a  German  artillery  major,  who  alone 
had  remained  with  his  guns  (he  is  said  to  have  put 
sixteen  out  of  action).  The  brigadier  gave  orders  that 
his  body  should  be  found  and  buried  with  honour,  but 
although  search  was  made  all  round  the  gun  emplace- 
ments no  trace  of  such  a  person  could  be  discovered. 
Between  Flesquieres  and  Bourlon  Wood  was  a  plain  or 
wide  valley,  and  this  was  the  scene  of  the  most  furious 
activity.  With  magnificent  impertinence  the  gunners 
had  drawn  up  their  field-guns  and  lighter  howitzers  in 
rows,  and  all  the  work  of  batteries  in  action  was  going 
on  in  full  view  of  the  enemy. 

The  attack  at  Bourlon  Wood  by  the  40th  Division  and 
2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  took  place  and  was  success- 
ful, and  one  company  of  the  Welsh  Guards  was  ordered 
up  in  close  support  on  the  Graincourt— Marcoing  Road. 
This  fell  to  Roderick  and  No.  3  Company  on  the  night 
of  the  25th.  On  the  night  of  the  26th  the  whole  bat- 
talion moved  up  to  the  same  road  in  support  to  the  2nd 
Guards  Brigade  attack — companies  in  sequence  with  the 
Prince  of  Wales  on  the  right. 

*'  The  H.Q.  Dugout  is  a  small  quarry  in  a  little  copse 

Nov.  1917]  CAMBRAI  173 

and  is  part  of  the  very  strong  support  system  of  the 
Boche.  Our  first  look  round  in  daylight  was  most  in- 
teresting. The  battle-field  was  all  in  front  of  us — the 
smashed  tanks,  smashed  German  aeroplanes,  the  deep 
German  trenches,  with  the  German  dead  and  kit  lying 
about  in  the  utmost  confusion,  and  the  tracks  of  the 
tanks  showing  where  they  had  cruised  down  the  lines, 
obliterating  the  wire  and  shooting  down  the  trenches — • 
great  work  and  a  very  fair  advance.  The  ground  is  all 
clean  grass  land  with  scarcely  a  shell-hole. 

"  At  5  p.m.  on  the  24th  we  were  warned  to  go  up  to 
the  line— at  6  p.m.  the  order  was  cancelled,  and  Jack 
Stirling  went  up  with  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards. 
It  rained  hard  all  night,  but  I  heard  this  morning  he  had 
done  well  (November  25th).  .  .  .  After  a  good  night's 
rest  we  again  w^ent  forward  (Douglas  and  I)  on  fresh 
orders  to  prepare  to  move  to  another  place  just  behind 
the  attacking  troops.  We  rode  there  and  trotted  about 
in  full  view  of  the  Boche  and  within  long  rifle-range — 
working  parties  and  field-artillery  men  were  doing  the 
same,  and  two  tanks  were  worming  around— but  not  a 
shot  was  fired  at  us.  Mick  Row^lette  has  been  talking 
to  a  German  doctor,  who  says  they  are  purely  on  the 
defensive.  We  found  the  people  we  were  to  relieve  (the 
4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards)  in  a  gorgeous  though 
unfinished  dugout — a  room  about  fourteen  feet  square, 
underground  and  with  thick  concrete  ceiling,  and  from 
it  a  stairw^ay  leading  to  further  underground  galleries. 
The  place  is  furnished  with  cupboards,  chairs,  tables, 
shelves  for  books,  pigeon-holes  for  papers,  looking-glasses 
and  a  fireplace.     Can't  think  why  the  Huns  ran. 

"  We  went  back,  and  soon  after  Arthur  Gibbs  arrived 
from  leave.  Then  Calverly  Bewicke  to  say  orders  had 
again  been  cancelled." 

The  attack  was  launched  at  6.20  a.m.  on  the  27th,  and 
the  2nd  Brigade  gained  the  village  of  Fontaine  Notre 
Dame,  also  the  far  edge  of  Bourlon  Wood.  The  Prince 
of  Wales's  and  No.  2  Companies  were  at  once  moved  to 
.Bourlon  Wood,  where  they  would  be  under  the  orders 

174  CAMBRAI  [Chap.  XII 

of  Viscount  Gort,  commanding  the  4th  Battalion  Grena- 
dier Guards.  Arthur  Gibbs  and  Lisburne  had  a  most 
unenviable  task,  having  to  cross  wide  open  country  in 
full  view  of  the  enemy,  who  had  already  put  down  a 
heavy  barrage  on  their  path.  They  suffered  a  few 

"  We  had  orders  to  move  on  the  26th.  The  brigadier 
wanted  us  to  go  early,  so  that  Jack  Stirling's  battalion 
could  take  our  billets,  but,  as  there  was  no  place  to  go  to 
while  we  waited  for  zero  hour,  and  as  we  had  been  lent 
to  another  brigade,  who  did  not  want  us  to  get  on  the 
road  at  all  until  they  had  moved,  Douglas  managed  to 
avoid  that  evil.  The  whole  business  was  very  sudden — 
just  a  short  order  that  an  attack  would  take  place  and 
that  we  should  be  in  support.  D.G.  took  me  to  Brigade 
H.Q.,  where  a  conference  was  going  on,  and  we  saw  how 
war  is  made.  The  conference  was  in  a  country  house  on 
the  outskirts  of  the  village  (Flesquieres).  There  were  no 
doors,  windows,  or  furniture,  but  a  few  shell-holes  in  the 
walls.  All  the  floors  and  passages  were  covered  with  wet 
mud  from  the  many  people  who  were  passing  in  and  out. 
One  doorway  was  covered  with  bits  of  sacking  and  part 
of  a  window-shutter,  but  the  other  rooms  were  open  to 
view  from  the  passage,  and  seemed  to  be  full  of  people 
apparently  engaged  in  making  tea,  or  watching  it  being 
made.  Everyone  was  smoking  and  everyone  looked 

"  We  pushed  aside  the  sack-and-shutter  door  and  found 
a  lot  of  people  bending  over  a  table  on  which  were  maps 
and  a  number  of  candles  in  bottles  or  tins.  These  people 
were  the  Brigadier  (Brook)  and  the  various  Commanding 
Officers  discussing  the  attack.  And  here  it  was  we  re- 
ceived orders  to  move  at  five  in  the  morning. 

"  We  went  back  to  our  dugout  and  dined.  Then 
Jack  Stirling  arrived  and  told  us  of  his  experience  as  he 
changed  his  clothes — it  was  snowing  hard.  He  had  been 
ordered  to  take  a  wood  of  600  acres  with  his  500  men.  We 
talked  to  him  till  3.30  a.m.  and  then  departed,  picked  up 
the  battalion,  and  marched  down  the  track  of  a  Boche 

Nov.  1917]  CAMBRAI  175 

railway  to  a  sunken  road.  It  was  raining.  Some  com- 
panies found  shelter  in  old  Boche  dugouts,  but  mostly 
the  men  crouched  under  the  bank. 

"  I  hung  on  to  D.G.  like  wax,  having  nothing  else  to 
do,  and  went  with  him  to  the  new  Brigade  H.Q.  in  a 
farm  (La  Justice) — only  to  be  told  to  return  at  7  a.m. 

**  At  6.20  a.m.  the  battle  started,  and  we  should  have 
had  a  good  view  but  for  the  rain.  D.G.  and  I  were  just 
behind  the  battalion  in  a  gunner's  dugout  with  a  wire 
out  to  brigade.  Very  soon  we  had  news  that  all  objec- 
tives had  been  captured,  and  we  thought  that  we  should 
not  be  moved  forward  until  the  next  day.  But  D.G. 
was  sent  for  about  11  a.m.  and  I  went  too.  Here  was  a 
repetition  of  the  former  brigade  scene,  only  the  briga- 
dier was  worried.  He  sat  in  a  vaulted  cellar  with  a 
small  table,  a  map,  a  telephone,  two  smoking  candles, 
and  a  blue  pencil.  The  cellar  was  very  stuffy,  and  was 
crowded  with  all  sorts  of  people,  who  wrote  on  bits  of 
paper,  or  ate  bully  beef,  drank  tea,  or  simply  sat  on 
the  floor  smoking  cigarettes  and  waiting  for  orders. 
He  said  the  situation  was  not  too  clear,  and  that  two 
companies  must  go  up  to  the  wood  at  once.  Then  we 
had  to  race  back  and  tell  Arthur  Gibbs  and  Lisburne 
to  be  off  at  once.  They  were  practically  ready,  and  we 
watched  them  going  over  a  fold  in  the  ground  towards 
the  distant  wood  and  the  Boche  barrage.  .  .  . 

"  In  the  gunner's  dugout  we  waited  for  news.  The 
gunners  told  us  now  and  then  what  their  fire  orders  were, 
so  we  were  able  to  judge  the  progress,  and  gathered  that 
all  objectives  had  been  taken.  At  about  3.30  we  were 
up  at  brigade  again.  The  brigadier,  with  the  blue-pen- 
cilled map  in  front  of  him,  was  very  busy  with  the  tele- 
phone, reports  coming  in  every  few  minutes.  He  was  at 
least  very  concentrated,  talking  down  the  'phone  and 
pointing  with  his  pencil  to  the  map,  as  though  the  person 
at  the  other  end  of  the  wire  was  in  front  of  him.  '  By 
Jove  ! '  he  said,  '  that  is  a  funny-looking  line  !  Go 
back ! ' 

"  Briefly  he  told  us  that,  although  objectives  had  been 
reached,  casualties  were  very  heavy,  the  front  was  exten- 

116  CAMBRAI  [Chap.  XII 

sive,  and  lie  had  ordered  everyone  back  to  their  original 
position.  We  were  to  go  and  relieve  the  2nd  Irish  at 
once.  D.Gr.  then  told  me  to  go  straight  up  to  the  line 
and  find  out  what  was  happening.  I  took  an  orderly 
with  me,  and  had  to  go  a  long  way  round  to  avoid  J)he 
barrage  which  the  Boche  kept  going.  At  last  I  reached 
the  wood  and  found  the  most  frightful  confusion.  The 
roads  or  tracks  were  filled  with  men  and  pack-horses — 
shells  were  bursting  all  over  the  place  and  had  a  frightful 
echo  through  the  wood.  The  place  we  made  for  was  a 
small  chalet  in  the  centre,  and  round  it  were  crowds  of 
men  from  every  sort  of  unit  and  heaps  of  wounded.  It 
was  so  filled  inside  and  out  that  I  had  to  push  my  way 
through.  Alexander,  of  the  Irish,  was  not  there,  having 
moved  his  headquarters  to  his  front  line.  It  took  me 
much  time  and  a  lot  of  shouting  to  find  someone  who 
knew  where  the  line  was — being  somewhat  old  in  war  I 
was  not  going  to  plunge  about  a  wood  at  dusk  while  the 
enemy  were  still  in  it.  Alexander  was  on  the  high  ground 
in  the  wood,  in  a  dugout  just  below  a  tall  tree,  with 
observation  platforms  built  amongst  the  branches.  He 
told  me  all  there  was  to  tell — how  there  was  a  strong 
point  filled  with  machine  guns  just  inside  the  north-east 
corner  of  the  wood,  and  that  it  had  defied  all  efforts  to 
capture  it.  He  traced  the  line  on  a  map  for  me  and 
gave  me  guides,  and  I  departed.  I  dropped  the  guides 
at  their  various  companies — including  Arthur  Gibbs  and 
Lisburne,  who  had  been  held  back  in  support  on  the  near 
edge  of  the  wood — and  returned  to  D.G.  He  had  dined, 
so  I  ate  hastily  as  I  told  him  of  the  situation,  and  off  we 
started.  I  was  very  tired  with  these  three  journeys,  and 
wet  through,  and,  not  having  had  a  change  for  three  days, 
my  feet  were  very  sore.  I  was  grateful  for  a  fireplace 
the  Boche  had  made.  We  found  the  situation  had  be- 
come complicated  by  a  belief  that  quite  a  number  of  men 
had  not  been  recalled  and  were  still  out  beyond  the 
Boche  strong  point.  Also  no  one  seemed  to  know  exactly 
where  the  troops  on  our  left  were.  D.G.  was  ordered  by 
the  brigade  to  send  out  a  patrol  and  find  the  missing  men. 
Kearton,  from  No.  3  Company,  was  selected.     The  relief 

Nov.  1917]  CAMBRAI  177 

was  completed,  and,  accompanied  by  Alexander,  who  re- 
fused to  leave  until  he  had  heard  the  patrol  report,  we 
started  to  visit  the  line.  But  before  we  had  gone  more 
than  fifty  yards  through  the  trees  a  most  furious  fusillade 
was  started  by  someone  on  our  left  and  was  at  once 
answered  by  the  Boche.  The  air  was  filled  with  bullets, 
and  we  jumped  for  shelter.  When  it  had  stopped  and 
I  got  up  from  under  a  bank  I  found  the  others  had  gone, 
so  I  returned  to  the  dugout  and  found  Alexander  fast 
asleep  and  D.G.  brooding  by  the  fire.  Before  we  made 
a  second  attempt  Kearton  came  back  and  reported  being 
shot  at  every  time  he  tried  to  get  round  the  wood.  The 
enemy,  he  said,  were  right  across  the  corner  of  the  wood, 
and  had  posts  in  the  open  too.  Alexander  then  went 
back,  and  we  round  the  line.  Nothing  happened  next 
day  (28th)  except  endless  discussions  with  brigade  as  to 
the  exact  position  of  our  line.  So  far  as  I  know  we  were 
not  many  yards  out  in  our  reports. 

"  In  due  course  we  were  relieved  and  got  out  about 
midnight.  The  tracks  were  blocked  with  troops  and 
horses,  and  shelling  was  continuous.  To  add  to  the 
enjoyment,  the  Hun  started  gas-shelling,  and  I,  as  guide 
to  H.Q.,  fairly  legged  it,  having  lost  my  gas-bag — took 
them  across  country  and  a  bit  of!  the  line  in  the  dark, 
but  we  only  went  about  a  mile  farther  than  we  need  have 
done,  and  reached  our  billets  about  four  in  the  morning. '^ 
—Diary,  C.  H.  D.  W. 

Relieved  by  the  2/6th  Battalion  North  Staffordshire 
Regiment,  the  battalion  marched  to  Ribecourt,  and  after 
a  short  rest  to  a  camp  south  of  Trescault. 

The  rumour  was  that  the  division  would  remain  in 
the  vicinity  of  Havrincourt  Wood  and  work  for  a  few 
days  on  the  roads,  after  which  they  would  move  out  of 
the  sector  altogether. 

The  camp  was  on  a  ploughed  field  which  had  been 
churned  up  into  a  fearful  state,  and  a  move  was  made 
to  clear  the  wire  from  a  corner  of  the  wood,  with  the 
object  of  pitching  camp  on  cleaner  ground,  when  at 
9.30  a.m.  on  November  30th  the  Adjutant's  (Geofirey 

178  CAMBRAI  [Chap.  XII 

Devas)  rotund  figure  was  seen  plunging  through  the  mud. 
He  had  an  apologetic  smile  and  a  diffident  manner  as  he 
announced  that  all  companies  would  stand  by  to  move 
at  a  moment's  notice.  "  The  Hun  has  broken  through 
our  line.  ...  A  hell  of  a  mess  up,"  said  he. 

Ammunition  was  hurriedly  made  up  ;  officers  who 
were  taking  things  easy,  and  had  not  yet  breakfasted, 
found  Sergt.  Marshall  packing  up,  but  he  provided  them 
with  a  glass  of  port  and  a  biscuit ;  the  drummers  looked 
after  the  baggage  and  loaded  it  on  the  waggons. 

One  has  only  to  look  at  the  map  and  mark  the  bulge 
made  in  the  German  line  to  realise  what  he  was  doing. 
The  hope  of  the  Third  Army  was  to  capture  the  high 
ground  of  Bourlon  and  Fontaine,  but  troops  had.  never 
been  able  to  complete  this  operation,  and  the  enemy 
succeeded  in  pinning  the  British  effort  to  the  apex  of  the 
salient.  To  hurry  troops  up  and  attack  the  long  exposed 
right  flank  of  the  British,  and  follow  the  advance  by  a 
strong  and  main  blow  between  Moeuvres  and  Fontaine 
would,  provided  they  had  sufficient  troops,  justify  the 
hope  of  the  German  High  Command  to  capture  the  whole 
of  the  British  forces  in  the  salient. 

As  the  original  attack  from  the  line  Gonnelieu — Her- 
mies  pushed  north  a  right  flank  had  been  formed  east  of 
Banteaux,  by  Bois  Lateau,  and  so  to  the  east  of  Marcoing 
(where  a  crossing  was  established  over  the  Escault  Canal) 
to  Noyelles,  to  the  east  of  Cantaing,  to  Fontaine.  The 
new  line  was  not  therefore  a  great  distance  from  the  old 
line  north-east  of  Gonnelieu. 

The  right  flank  from  Cantaing  to  Banteaux  Ravine 
was  held  by  five  divisions ;  from  Banteaux  Ravine  to 
Vendhuille  by  one  division.  The  German  attack  on  this 
flank  opened  about  8  a.m.  on  November  30th,  and  was 
completely  successful  in  its  first  stages.  The  British 
guns  which  had  been  moved  close  up  to  the  line  in  order 
to  cover  the  Masnieres  Line  were  taken.  The  deepest 
advance  was  to  Gouzeaucourt. 

Between  10  and  11  a.m.  the  Germans  attacked  in  great 
force  between  Moeuvres  and  Bourlon  Wood,  and  the 
VI  Corps  reported  them  to  have  broken  through  at  a 

Nov.  1917] 



Scale  of  Miles 

-I 1 1 

Cambrai.     Line   of   Battle,    8  a.m.,  November    30th,    1917. 


180  CAMBRAI  [Chap.  XII 

point  whicli  would  enable  them  to  get  between  Grain- 
court  and  Moeuvres  (the  guns  in  Graincourt  were  ordered 
to  have  their  teams  up  in  readiness  to  withdraw) .  Other 
attacks  were  made  from  Fontaine,  but  the  enemy  seems 
to  have  suffered  heavily  from  our  guns  at  this  point. 

The  position  was  extremely  serious.  The  Guards 
Division  were  ordered  to  secure  Gauche  Wood  and  Gon- 
nelieu  Spur ;  the  2nd  Cavalry  Division  were  to  move  on 
their  right — no  other  troops  were  available  immedi- 

But  the  information  in  the  hands  of  the  3rd  Brigade 
was  very  meagre. 

Just  before  midday  the  whole  brigade  marched  through 
Metz-en-Couture  and  halted  north  of  Bois  Dessart.  The 
brigadier  then  held  a  conference  and  viewed  the  country 
from  the  top  of  a  hill.  Horsemen  could  be  seen  galloping 
in  an  apparent  aimless  way,  but  otherwise  nothing  was 
visible.  The  news  was  scant ;  the  Brigadier  at  the 
moment  knew  very  little,  and,  referring  to  rumours,  said 
a  Labour  Company  was  reported  to  be  holding  up  the 
enemy,  so  that  it  did  not  look  very  serious. 

Further  curt  orders  came,  and  the  brigade  retraced  its 
steps  across  country  to  a  point  about  a  thousand  yards 
due  south  of  Trescault.  The  1st  Brigade  could  then  be 
seen  advancing  in  assaulting  lines  over  the  skyline,  and 
as  they  disappeared  the  crackle  of  musketry  announced 
that  they  had  got  in  touch  with  the  enemy. 

Looking  back  on  Havrincourt  Wood,  where  they  had 
been  quietly  resting,  the  battalion  realised  that  the 
position  must  be  serious.  Maps  were  scarce,  but  later 
in  the  day  small  scale-maps  were  procured  and  issued ; 
the  scale,  however,  was  too  small  to  give  more  than  a 
very  rough  idea  of  what  the  country  was  like. 

The  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  were  ordered  to 
go  forward,  and  the  rest  of  the  brigade  halted  on  the 
side  of  a  bare  hill  and  waited.  It  was  bitterly  cold,  and 
the  transport,  with  the  men's  food  and  cookers,  had  been 
left  on  the  road. 

The  country  was  rolling,  down-like  hills.  On  the  right 
and  slightly  in  rear  was  Gouzeaucourt  Wood ;    behind 

Nov.  1917]  GOUZEAUCOUPvT  181 

was  Havrincourt  Wood;  on  the  left  some  tanks  were 
moving  into  a  long  line. 

Darkness  came  ;  the  men  huddled  in  little  groups  to 
keep  warm  ;  and  still  no  news. 

About  8  p.m.  the  Commanding  Officer  was  sent  for  by 
the  brigadier,  whom  he  found  squatting  on  the  ground 
trying  to  read  a  map  with  a  small  torch.  The  situation 
as  he  then  knew  it  was  that  the  1st  Brigade  (de  Cres- 
pigny)  had  turned  the  enemy  out  of  the  village  of  Gouz- 
eaucourt,  and  that  for  the  moment  the  3rd  Brigade  was 
not  wanted.  He  had  heard  of  the  transport,  which 
would  soon  be  up. 

Cheered  by  this  news,  the  Commanding  Officer  returned 
to  find  the  transport  arriving  with  smoking  cookers  ; 
very  soon  the  men  had  some  food. 

And  then  came  another  period  of  waiting.  It  was  a 
bright  moonlight  night,  frosty  and  a  bitter  wind.  No 
one  could  sleep  or  attempted  to  do  so.  Greatcoats, 
blankets  and  packs  had  been  dumped  at  the  camp  ; 
the  cold  was  painful. 

Just  after  midnight  the  brigadier  again  summoned 
the  Commanding  Officer. 

Lord  Henry  Seymour,  or  Copper,  as  he  was  more  gene- 
rally called,  was  an  extraordinary  man.  Nothing  seemed 
to  upset  him,  and  if  he  was  in  any  way  worried  he  did 
not  show  it.  Some  sort  of  shelter  had  now  been  rigged 
up  for  him  by  means  of  a  waggon  tarpaulin,  and  he  had 
been  provided  with  a  candle  stuck  on  an  old  tin.  His 
brigade-major,  Fletcher,  had  gone  on  leave  the  day 
before,  and  Calverly  Bewicke  was  doing  Fletcher's  work, 
with  Cecil  Keith  to  help  him.  The  brigadier,  smoking 
cigarettes,  started  the  conversation  by  remarking  that 
it  was  "  a  damned  cold  spot.''  He  then  announced  his 
orders  very  briefly.' 

The  Welsh  Guards  were  to  attack  with  the  4th  Bat- 
talion Grenadier  Guards  on  their  left  and  the  2nd  Brigade 
on  their  right.  The  village  of  Gonnelieu  was  to  be  taken, 
and  the  ground  to  the  south  of  it.  The  advance  was  n'ot 
to  be  beyond  the  crest  of  the  ridge  on  which  the  village 

*  Appendix  B  9. 

182  GOtJZEAUCOmiT  [Chap.  Xll 

stood.  The  road  from  Gouzeaucourt  to  Gonnelieu  would 
be  tlie  boundary  between  battalions  ;  the  time  of  attack 
6.30  a.m. — eleven  tanks  would  co-operate. 

Meanwhile  the  battalion  had  been  ordered  to  move, 
and  by  the  time  this  short  conference  was  over  was 
already  in  view.  In  the  moonlight  it  streamed  over  the 
frozen  hill  to  the  sunken  road  just  behind  Gouzeaucourt. 
The  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  were  there  too,  and 
the  Commanding  Officer  went  to  consult  with  Lord  Gort. 

Gort  said  bluntly  that  he  did  not  think  the  attack 
would  succeed,  as  he  had  watched  an  abortive  attempt 
by  the  20th  Division  in  the  evening,  and  had  never  seen 
such  a  machine-gun  barrage  as  the  enemy  put  up.  There 
was  also  a  major  of  tank  corps  there,  and  he  said  he 
could  not  produce  eleven  tanks,  as  most  of  them  would 
not  "  function." 

Time  was  now  getting  on,  and,  hastily  calling  the 
Company  Commanders  together,  the  Commanding  Officer 
ordered  that  No.  3,  with  Roderick,  should  advance  on 
the  right,  and  No.  4,  with  Hargreaves  in  command,  on 
the  left ;  No.  2,  with  Dickens,  would  be  a  second  "  wave  " 
in  support,  and  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  with 
Arthur  Gibbs,  in  reserve.  Lisburne  was  very  ill,  and 
only  at  the  very  last  moment  was  Dickens  given  com- 
mand of  No.  2  Company. 

There  was  just  time  to  reconnoitre  the  road  and  the 
forming-up  point — a  hurried  walk  through  the  village 
and  a  glimpse  of  the  railway  line. 

The  battalion  then  marched  down  to  the  railway 
line,  where  it  formed  up  in  two  lines.  It  was  then  very 
dark  and  slightly  misty. 

No  tanks  were  visible.  The  men  had  hardly  extended 
when  the  order  was  given  to  advance,  and  the  two 
assaulting  lines  climbed  up  the  railway  bank  which  faced 
them,  and  proceeded  up  the  hill,  disappearing  in  the 

There  was  some  wire  half-way  up  the  hill,  which  caused 
a  certain  bunching  while  the  men  got  through  the  weak 
parts,  and,  what  had  not  been  known  before,  there  was 
a  false  crest  to  the  hill,  or,  to  be  more  accurate,  a  deep 

Dec.  1917]  THE  ATTACK  183 

re-entrant  in  the  ridge  from  the  north-west.  The  enemy 
occupied  the  slight  depression  which  lay  in  front  of  the 
apparent  crest,  and  as  the  j&rst  wave  of  men  reached  the 
first  skyline  star-lights  went  up  from  all  sides  and  a 
perfect  hurricane  of  machine-gun  fire  broke  out.  It  was 
devastating.  Officers  and  men  fell  in  a  line.  On  the 
left  young  Wreford  Brown,  in  action  for  the  first  time, 
yelled  to  his  men  to  lie  down,  which  they  did  ;  No.  3 
Company  had  no  officers  left  and  retired  behind  the  crest 
of  the  hill ;  No.  2,  with  Baness  alone  untouched,  were 
mixed  up  with  No.  3. 

The  scene  was  beyond  anything  that  had  ever  been  met 
with.  The  ground  was  thick  with  dead  and  wounded 
men ;  curses  and  groans  and  shouts  mingled  with  the 
hurricane  crackle  of  the  machine  guns.  And  then  in  the 
weird  light  of  star-lights  in  the  foggy  dawn  a  crowd 
of  men  began  to  stream  down  the  hill.  "  What  the 
hell  is  this  ?  ''  said  Broncho  Dene.  They  were  the 

It  was  the  most  stupendous  noise  ever  heard,  and  Dene 
and  the  Commanding  Officer  shouted  in  each  other's 
ears.  It  was  obvious  that  no  human  beings  could  hope 
to  get  through  such  a  concentration  of  machine-gun  fire ; 
there  were  no  field-guns,  there  were  no  tanks.  Arthur 
Gibbs  and  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  were  sent 
for ;  and  meanwhile  the  stream  of  dazed  and  blood- 
covered  men  was  directed  to  the  side  of  the  railway 
bank  where  Mick  Rowlette  and  Sergt.  Evans  were 
hard  at  work. 

Arthur  Gibbs  was  ordered  to  take  up  a  position  below 
the  crest  and  send  back  any  unwounded  men  there  to 
reform  on  the  railway.  Finding  some  trenches  near  the 
spot  he  put  his  company  in  them. 

Some  little  time  was  taken  organising  the  few  remain- 
ing stretcher-bearers  to  help  Rowlette  and  Sergt.  Evans  ; 
and  also  arranging  for  temporary  bearers  to  clear  the 
ground  as  much  as  possible. 

Sergt.  Hicks,  of  No.  4  Company,  was  brought  in  with 
a  broken  leg  and  smoking  a  cigarette  while  he  calmly 
expressed  the  opinion  that  this  was  the  hottest  place  he 



liad  ever  struck.  Bowyer,  with  five  bullets  through 
him,  managed  to  gasp  out  that  he  hoped  everybody 
was  not  killed ;  and  "  Peggy  "  Kearton,  walking  be- 
tween two  men,  replied  with  a  smile,  "  Yes,  I'm  done 
for — right  through  the  stomach !  "  And  there  were 

The  ghastly  scene  was  made  a  field  of  triumphant 
heroism  by  the  men  and  officers  of  the  three  attacking 
companies,  and  it  is  not  detracting  from  the  valour  of  the 
Prince  of  Wales's  Company  to  say  that  their  courage 
was  uplifted  by  the  gallant  bearing  of  the  shattered 
companies  they  passed  through  on  their  way  up  the 

There  was  sufficient  light  to  see  some  30G  yards 
through  the  morning  mist  when  Dene  went  up  the  hill 
to  view  the  situation.  He  found  Gibbs  in  some  trenches 
about  sixty  yards  below  the  apparent  crest  of  the  hill, 
and  in  his  quick,  energetic  way  asked,  "  What  is  over 
there  ?  "  '*  Machine  guns,"  said  Gibbs.  But  Dene  de- 
clared he  was  going  to  look,  and  crawled  up  and  looked 
over  the  top. 

There  was  some  shelling  going  on,  and  the  first  thing 
he  saw,  just  in  view  on  the  right,  was  a  tank  going  very 
slowly  across  the  hollow  between  the  false  and  the  real 
crest.  Shells  were  falling  all  round  it,  and  all  sorts  of 
coloured  lights  were  going  up  from  the  enemy  lines 
directing  the  fire.  And  then  he  saw  Germans  running 

He  at  once  ordered  Gibbs  to  bring  two  platoons  close 
up  to  the  crest,  and  to  watch  the  movements  of  the  tank 
and  co-operate  when  he  saw  his  chance.  The  running 
enemy  was  making  for  a  trench  near  the  real  summit  of 
the  hill,  and,  from  the  rifle  fire  which  he  started  to 
direct  against  the  tank,  seemed  in  force.  Dene  then 
went  back  to  report. 

The  mist  lifted  and  the  enemy  trench  could  be  plainly 
seen  by  the  time  the  tank  got  there  and  turned  to  the 
left,  crossing  Gibbs's  front.  It  was  fighting  hard  with  its 
light  guns  and  Lewis  Guns,  and  Gibbs  decided  it  was  the 
moment  for  him  to  advance.    He  appears  to  have  timed 

Dec.  1917]  THE  ATTACK  185 

the  move  to  a  second,  as  lie  and  two  platoons  got  across 
without  a  casualty,  and  relieved  the  tank  of  200  of  the 
enemy  who  were  clustered  in  front  of  it  with  their 
hands  up. 

Young  Wreford  Brown,  shot  through  the  wrist,  co- 
operated with  him  in  this  movement,  with  the  remains 
of  No.  4  Company,  as  though  he  had  been  on  a  field-day. 
The  conduct  of  this  youngster  (he  had  been  at  the  En- 
trenching Battalion  for  a  year  because  he  was  under  age) 
was  most  soldierly.  He  followed  the  instructions  of  the 
Training  Manual  in  a  cool  and  collected  manner,  lying 
down  when  he  thought  the  machine-gun  fire  was  intense, 
and  advancing  when  he  saw  someone  moving  on  his  right, 
all  the  time  with  a  nasty  wound. 

Gibbs  manned  the  trench,  deciding  that  he  could  go 
no  farther  with  his  two  platoons,  and  sent  down  a 
report  with  a  request  for  more  men.  He  had  got 
in  touch  with  the  Grenadier  Guards  on  his  left,  but 
there  was  no  one  on  his  right.  The  tank,  however, 
remained  there  until  the  Coldstream  Guards  got  in 
touch  on  that  flank. 

To  the  skilful  manoeuvring  of  the  tank  the  success  of 
the  advance  must  be  given.  Many  of  the  enemy  got 
away,  but  Gibbs  collected  no  less  than  twenty-six 
machine  guns  in  the  trench,  and  there  is  no  doubt,  from 
ammunition-boxes  found,  that  many  were  taken  from 
the  left  of  the  line  before  the  tank  could  close  on  it. 
The  prisoners  captured  included  some  of  the  Jaeger 
Battalion  No.  3  of  the  2nd  Machine  Gun  Corps,  who  said 
their  company,  with  ten  heavy  machine  guns,  had  rein- 
forced the  1st  Battalion  of  the  3rd  Bavarian  Ersatz 
Regiment  and  the  4th  Sturm  Battalion  holding  the  line. 
To  face  such  fire  without  barrage  or  the  co-operation  of 
tanks  was  impossible — and  yet  that  is  what  the  Welsh 
Guards  set  out  to  do. 

The  line  was  now  held  with  the  whole  of  the  Prince  of 
Wales's  and  No.  4  Companies,  and  twenty-five  men  from 
No.  2  were  sent  up  to  strengthen  them.  The  brigadier, 
visiting  the  line  about  11  a.m.,  decided  that  nothing  more 
could  be  done. 





All  the  wounded  were  brought  in  by  midday,  and  only 
the  line  of  dead  remained  to  speak  for  the  valour  of  the 
men.  In  front  of  the  men  were  Webb,  well  ahead  on 
the  right.  Borough,  Roderick,  and  Hargreaves  on  the 
left,  quiet,  dignified  figures  lying  with  their  faces  to  the 

Attack  on  the  Gonnelieu  Ridge. 

Of  the  370  men  who  started  to  storm  the  hill  248  were 
down  in  the  first  three  minutes.  Fifty-seven  died  where 
they  fell. 

Of  the  remaining  officers,  Kearton  died  the  next  day, 
but  Bowyer  recovered,  as  did  Dickens,  Devereux  and 
Wreford  Brown. 

Dec.  1917]  THE  ATTACK  •  187 

Two  platoons  of  the  King's  Company  let  Battalion 
Grenadier  Guards  came  up  as  reinforcements  that  night. 
Bitterly  cold  weather  set  in,  and  the  battalion  was  re- 
lieved by  the  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  (with  the 
exception  of  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  which  was 
left  in  support)  on  the  night  of  December  2nd.  The 
battalion  marched  back  to  bivouacs  in  Gouzeaucourt 

By  this  time  guns  were  beginning  to  arrive,  replacing 
those  captured  by  the  enemy.  A  howitzer  battery  estab- 
lished itself  in  the  wood,  which  became  an  unpleasant 
place  for  rest.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  the 
battalion  recaptured  one  battery  of  field-guns  between 
Gouzeaucourt  and  Gonnelieu,  though  whether  the 
gunners  ever  succeeded  in  getting  them  out  we  do 
not  know. 

The  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  was  relieved  on  the 
3rd  ;  and  on  the  night  of  the  4th  the  whole  battalion,  be- 
ing relieved  by  the  2nd  Battalion  Irish  Guards,  marched 
via  Fins  to  Etricourt,  where  it  spent  the  night. 
A  camp  had  been  pitched  here  on  the  side  of  a  hill,  and 
although  they  were  tired  no  one  was  able  to  sleep  owing 
to  the  cold.  Search  parties  were  sent  out  to  find  wood 
without  success.  In  one  tent  Dene,  Lisburne  (very  ill 
with  bronchitis),  Devas  and  Arthur  Gibbs,  having  se- 
cured a  mail-bag  and  a  horse-rug,  tried  to  keep  warm 
by  putting  their  feet  in  the  bag  and  covering  their  shoul- 
ders with  the  rug ;  but,  although  their  efforts  created 
a  great  deal  of  amusement,  they  did  not  result  in  any 

Early  the  next  morning  the  battalion  entrained  at 
Etricourt,  and,  arriving  at  Laherliere,  marched  to  Gouy- 

The  line  established  by  the  Guards  Division  in  this 
engagement  was  held,  but  a  withdrawal  was  subsequently 
made  from  Bourlon  Wood.  The  net  gain  of  the  battle 
of  Cambrai  is  shown  by  a  line  from  the  western  outskirts 
of  Gonnelieu,  La  Vacquerie,  north  of  Ribecourt  and 
Flesquieres  to  a  point  on  the  canal  a  mile  or  so  north  of 
Havrincourt,  also  by  11,100  prisoners  and  145  guns  either 


taken  or  destroyed.    The  enemy,  however,  were  in  our 
old  front  line  between  Vendhuille  and  Gonnelieu. 

In  this  action  at  Gouzeaucourt  the  Guards  Division 
were  under  the  orders  of  the  III  Corps,  after  passing  for 
about  an  hour  into  the  VII  Corps. 



The  village  of  Gouy  was  dull  and  dirty.  It  was  one  of 
those  places  fitted  up  for  troops,  that  is  to  say  tiers  of 
bunks  had  been  built  in  the  barns  for  the  men,  and 
officers'  quarters  were  rooms  stripped  of  every  single 
piece  of  furniture,  with  the  exception  of  the  wooden 
frame  covered  with  rabbit-wire  which  served  as  a  bed. 
The  few  fields  round  the  village  which  had  not  been 
under  the  plough  were  muddy  and  quite  unsuitable  for 
parades,  which  took  place  in  the  road. 

The  battalion  occupied  itself  by  refitting,  and  was 
joined  by  Ballard  and  Llewellyn  with  160  men  from 
the  reinforcement  battalion. 

Bob  Bonsor  was  in  hospital,  having  put  his  knee  out 
while  trying  to  play  football  with  some  young  officers, 
and  Lisburne  had  to  go  to  hospital,  and  did  not  return 
to  France  again  during  the  war.  But  Bonn  and  Menzies, 
who  had  been  on  a  musketry  course,  returned  to  the 
battalion.  Lisburne  was  a  great  loss  to  the  battalion — 
most  sensible  and  gallant,  and  very  good  company. 

After  a  week  at  Gouy  the  battalion  moved  to  Arras, 
first  to  the  prison  and  then  into  empty  houses. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  year  the  enemy  had  been  en- 
trenched on  the  very  outskirts  of  the  town,  but  in  the  big 
battle  of  the  spring  he  had  been  forced  to  retire  some 
miles,  and,  except  for  long-range  shelling,  the  place  was 
now  quite  comfortable.  Shops  were  open,  a  performance 
was  given  nightly  at  the  theatre  by  a  party  of  soldiers, 
who  called  themselves  the  "  Jocks,''  and  two  hotels  did 


190  ARRAS  [Chap.  XIII 

a  thriving  business.  These  hotels  had  never  closed 
throughout  the  war — another  proof  of  the  tenacity  of 
our  gallant  Allies— although  the  "  Commerce/'  near  the 
railway  station,  had  been  hit  several  times  (we  believe 
they  were  forced  to  close  later). 

The  condition  of  the  town  showed  the  fortitude  which 
had  been  displayed  by  the  civilians  who  had  remained. 
The  cathedral  was  a  mass  of  ruins,  and  most  houses  bore 
the  scars  of  at  least  one  shell.  What  gave  a  more  dilapi- 
dated appearance  to  the  town  in  general  w^as  the  absence 
of  glass  in  the  windows  of  private  dwellings  ;  the  shops 
in  some  marvellous  way  managed  to  renew  a  great  many 
of  their  windows. 

The  optimism  of  the  French  was  shown  in  other  ways. 
Parties  of  well-dressed  civilians  would  continually  arrive 
in  motors,  and  proceed  with  note-books  and  plans  to 
discuss  schemes  for  reconstruction. 

The  move  to  Arras  was  looked  on  with  the  greatest 
satisfaction  by  officers  and  men. 

The  battalion  was  now  in  the  XVII  Corps,  under 
Lieut.-Gen.  Sir  C.  Fergusson.  The  officers  were :  Prince 
of  Wales's  Company— Capt.  Gibbs,  with  Llewellyn, 
Davies,  Stokes;  No.  2— Capt.  Bonn,  with  Romer, 
Williams,  Baness;  No.  3— Capt.  Dudley  Ward,  with 
Howard,  Ballard;  No.  4 — Martin  Smith  (in  command), 
Evan  Thomas,  D.  B.  Davies.  When  Bob  Bonsor  re- 
turned he  acted  for  a  time  as  quartermaster  for  Dabell, 
who  was  sick ;  eventually  Bonsor  took  over  the  trans- 
port from  Goetz,  who  went  first  to  No.  2  Company  and 
then  to  No.  4.  Keith  Menzies  was  on  headquarters  as 
assistant  adjutant  to  Devas. 

The  river  Scarpe  runs  north  of  Arras,  flowing  to  the 
east.  Following  the  course  of  the  river  the  village  of 
St.  Laurent  Blangy  lies  on  the  north  bank,  then  Athies  ; 
Feuchy  is  on  the  south  bank  ;  Fampoux  and  Roeux  on 
the  north  bank  ;  Pelves,  within  a  few  hundred  yards  of 
Roeux  on  the  south  bank,  was  held  by  the  enemy— in 
fact,  Roeux  was  a  salient  in  the  enemy  line,  the  right 
flank  being  on  the  line  of  the  river. 

The  Arras-Douai  Railway  crossed  to  the  north  of  the 

Jan.  1918]  THE   LINE  191 

river  after  passing  Fampoux,  and  was  workable  as  far 
as  Feuchy. 

With  the  exception  of  one  short  tour  of  duty  the 
battalion  always  held  the  line  north  of  the  river,  and 
the  system  of  holding  the  line  from  now  onwards  became 
very  tiring  for  troops.  The  battalion  was  to  hold  the 
front  line  for  three  days,  and  then  go  into  support 
trenches  (Humid,  Harry,  Hussar)  for  three  days,  but, 
as  the  support  trenches  were  if  anything  rather  w^orse 
for  comfort  than  the  front  line,  the  rest  was  one  in  name 
only ;  and  the  first  period  of  duty  was  for  eighteen  days. 

As  a  position,  however,  the  British  line  was  very 
strong — the  high  ground  was  in  our  hands  and  the  ob- 
servation was  extremely  good.  The  first  sector  held  by 
the  battalion  was  between  the  Arras-Douai  Railway  and 
Civil  Avenue,  and  it  may  be  generally  described  as  a 
bold  spur  running  from  the  high  ground  in  rear  towards 
the  enemy  line. 

The  spur  was  strongly  defended  by  machine  guns  in 
conjunction  with  deep  dugouts  made  by  the  New  Zealand 
Tunnelling  Company.  The  general  line  ran  north  and 
south  (including  Gavrelle),  and  in  front  of  this  spur. 
The  support  trenches  were  some  1,200  yards  in  rear. 

The  battalion  went  up  to  the  support  line  on  January 
1st,  1918,  and  relieved  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards 
on  the  5tli.  (It  seems  that  the  Scots  Guards  worked  off 
one  day  they  were  owing  in  the  front  line,  but  left  with 
the  battalion  owing  them  a  day.)  The  front  line  was 
found  to  be  well  dug  and  deep,  but  for  the  most  part 
unrevetted.  It  was  then  cold,  frosty  weather,  and  the 
sides  of  the  trench  held  together,  but  there  was  hardly 
any  material  to  secure  them  in  the  event  of  a  thaw. 
Gloomy  prognostications  were  heard  and  soon  were  to 
be  fulfilled.  It  started  to  rain,  and  then  it  snowed  and 
became  bitterly  cold,  and  then  it  rained.  The  men 
worked  like  demons,  but  as  fast  as  they  threw  the  sloppy 
mud  out  of  the  trench  it  fell  in  again  ;  still  they  kept 
things  fairly  right  until  the  15th,  when  after  a  warm  day 
a  most  fearful  downpour  of  rain  started  as  the  2nd 
Battalion  Scots  Guards  were  relieving.    The  trenches 

192  ARRAS  [Chap.  XIII 

simply  melted  away.  They  were  half  full  of  water  to 
start  with,  so,  wherever  the  sides  fell  in,  and  that  event 
was  universal,  without  any  trampling  a  rich  thick  fluid 
of  the  consistency  of  porridge  was  formed  ;  and  of  course 
the  relief  made  it  worse.  Nos.  2  and  3  Companies  were 
in  a  bad  plight.  Poor  Bonn,  with  a  cold  that  had  de- 
prived him  of  his  voice,  plunged  about  until  he  looked 
like  a  gigantic  newt  fished  out  of  some  slime,  and 
Howard,  having  reached  a  telephone,  wailed  down  it  that 
he  must  have  men  with  ropes  to  pull  his  platoon  out. 
Men  were  actually  above  their  knees  in  mud. 

The  Scots  Guards  started  to  relieve  at  7  p.m.  on  the 
15th,  and  the  relief  was  not  complete  until  9.30  a.m.  on 
the  16th.  And  the  support  lines  were  just  as  bad.  It 
continued  to  rain  until  the  battalion  was  relieved  by  the 
1st  Coldstream  Guards  on  the  18th,  when  companies 
entrained  on  the  light  railway  which  ran  to  Fampoux 
on  the  north  bank  of  the  Scarpe,  and  were  in  Arras  by 
9  p.m. 

We  cannot  leave  this  bit  of  line  without  mentioning 
the  work  of  the  Y.M.C.A.  This  Association  had  a  hut 
in  a  sunken  road  near  Humid  Trench  and  sold  the  men 
cigarettes  and  chocolates,  and  gave  them  hot  cocoa  and 
tea.  One  of  the  members  of  the  Association  lived  in 
the  hut  and  was  always  ready  to  provide  anything  he 
had.    The  note  we  have  on  the  subject  is  as  follows  : 

**  The  man  who  runs  the  shanty  is  a  Scot  of  about  fifty 
years  of  age — round,  red  face,  scrubby  moustache  and 
round  tummy.  He  is  fired  up  here  all  alone,  and  exists 
and  runs  his  place  entirely  on  charity — that  is  to  say,  he 
has  to  beg  for  parties  to  carry  up  what  he  wants,  chop 
his  wood,  and  lend  a  hand  generally.  He  sells  cigarettes, 
chocolate,  writing-paper,  and  odds  and  ends,  but  gives 
away  tea  and  cocoa  to  all  who  want  it.  This  is  sound 
and  helpful  work."' 

We  regret  that  we  do  not  know  the  name  of  this  gen- 
tleman, but  of  the  Association  nothing  can  be  said  but 
in  praise.    Its  organisation  reached  the  dreary  village, 


Jan.  1918]  ARRAS  193 

the  bleak  and  lonely  railway  siding,  and  the  exhausting 
swamp  of  the  battle-field.  It  was  not  a  charity  but 
a  friend,  and  the  fighting  soldier  knew  the  Y.M.C.A.  as 

An  amusing  situation  arose  about  this  time — Ball 
came  back  from  his  senior  officers'  course  at  Aldershot. 
He  had  left  as  second  in  command  and  was  assured 
that  he  would  retain  the  position,  but  now  Dene 
was  with  the  battalion  and  holding  that  acting  rank. 
Luxmoore  Ball  only  held  the  substantive  rank  of  lieu- 
tenant, and  Humphrey  Dene  was  a  captain  and  brevet- 
major.  The  difficulty  was  shelved  for  the  moment  by 
Ball  being  sent  to  the  transport  lines,  "  disguised,"  as 
Dene  remarked,  "  as  a  nose-bag.'' 

At  the  same  time  Arthur  Gibbs  was  sent  on  a  mus- 
ketry course,  and  the  battalion  was  getting  short  of 
officers.  This  raised  the  question,  ever  present  in  the 
minds  of  all  troops,  of  leave.  If  Bob  Bonsor  came  back 
and  his  knee  held  out,  said  Keith  Menzies,  there  might 
be  a  chance  of  leave  ;  but  Walter  Bonn,  in  the  depths  of 
depression  with  his  sore  throat  and  cold,  shook  his  head 
sadly  and  whispered,  "  We  can't  even  insure  him  !  " 
But  the  dismal  possibilities  were  relieved  by  dinners  at 
the  *'  Commerce  "  and  the  "  Continental.'' 

It  was  most  extraordinary  what  the  French  managed 
to  do  in  the  way  of  food.  Romer  Williams,  who  loved 
entertaining  and  good  living,  and  Keith  Menzies  gave  a 
party  at  the  "  Continental " — Tiors  d'oeuvre,  soup,  fresh 
fish,  duck,  souffle,  savoury,  coffee,  and  some  excellent  old 
rum ;  they  found  rare  wines  in  the  cellar,  they  produced 
cigars,  and  their  guests  had  all  the  after  discomforts  of 
a  Mansion  House  banquet. 

On  the  26th  the  battalion  went  into  the  line  again,  and 
held  the  sector  from  the  Scarpe  to  the  railway.  This 
included  the  village  of  Roeux  and  the  celebrated  chemical 
works.  Everybody  felt  satisfied  with  this  bit  of  line  ; 
the  trench  was  good,  the  position  very  strong,  and  the 
dugouts  and  the  caves  of  Roeux  gave  plenty  of  shelter 
from  shelling.  The  ruins  of  Roeux  were  described  as  a 
tricky  bit  of  line  ;  it  was  held  by  advance  posts  which 

1*94  LT.-COL.  DOUGLAS  GORDON       [Chap.  XIII 

were  drawn  in  by  dayliglit,  and  on  the  other  side  of  the 
river  was  the  enemy.  That  the  enemy  thought  he  might 
do  something  there  was  also  fairly  obvious,  as  he  at- 
tempted to  raid  on  the  27th,  but  found  the  posts  too 
alert,  so  he  contented  himself  with  running  about  for  a 
few  seconds,  uttering  loud  cries  when  fired  at,  and  so 

This  tour  of  duty  and  the  succeeding  ones  for  some 
time  were  shorter  and,  as  different  arrangements  were 
made,  of  varying  length.  The  battalion  was  relieved  on 
the  30th,  and  returned  to  Arras  by  the  broad-gauge 

During  the  next  four  days  in  Arras  the  Commanding 
Officer,  who  had  been  to  Rouen,  returned,  but  left  the 
next  day  on  leave  to  England.  He  was  retained  in 
England,  and  in  due  course  assumed  command  of  the 
Reserve  Battalion. 

Lieut.-Col.  Gordon  was  a  man  of  medium  stature,  and 
very  energetic.  He  had  commanded  the  battalion 
through  some  big  engagements,  and  had  carried  out  the 
complicated  orders  for  the  third  battle  of  Ypres  with 
minute  care  of  detail.  He  was  a  disciplinarian,  and 
kept  the  standard  of  smartness  in  the  battalion  at  a  high 
pitch ;  his  Company  Commanders,  Arthur  Gibbs,  Lis- 
burne,  Roderick,  Percy  Battye,  and  for  shorter  periods, 
Upjohn  and  Bonn,  had  ably  supported  his  efforts  in  this 

Of  the  officers  who  served  under  him  Arthur  Gibbs 
had  proved  himself  a  good  company  commander,  popu- 
lar with  his  men,  cheerful,  courageous  and  steady.  Under 
Gibbs,  though  fifteen  years  his  senior,  was  Bonsor,  a  man 
of  much  wisdom  and  of  great  administrative  ability,  but 
suffering  under  the  physical  disability  of  being  very 
short-sighted ;  but  a  man  who  could  command  others 
and  had  their  confidence,  and  by  his  example  kept  their 
spirits  and  courage  high  under  the  most  distressing  cir- 
cumstances. And  in  that  company  were  a  lot  of  keen 
young  men  like  Fripp,  Gwynne  Jones,  Saunders,  Shand, 
E.  J.  Davies  and  Llewellyn. 

Lisburne  was  most  gallant  and  painstaking,  quiet  and 

Alice  nughes,  Ebiiry  Pt. 



Feb.  1918]  HIS   OFFICERS  195 

shrewd.  Helping  him  was  Walter  Bonn,  never  out  of 
temper,  never,  apparently,  tired,  and  full  of  amusing 
conversation,  Keith  Menzies  and  Dickens  were  old 
members  of  No.  2  Company  mess.  Menzies  was  fre- 
quently taken  away  on  headquarters,  where  he  was  most 
useful  with  his  aptitude  for  finding  out  what  was  afoot. 

Of  Roderick  we  have  written  elsewhere ;  he  was  a 
most  painstaking  officer,  and  served  No.  3  Company  well. 
Menzies  was  also  in  the  company  for  a  while.  Rice, 
L.  F.  Ellis,  Jenkins,  Borough,  Arthur  and  Webb  were 
some  of  the  younger  men. 

Percy  Battye  had  done  well  with  No.  4.  He  was 
cheerful,  in  spite  of  being  lean,  with  a  supreme  contempt 
of  the  enemy  and  a  slight  flamboyant  side  to  his  char- 
acter which  endeared  him  to  his  men.  Taylor,  R.  R. 
Jones,  Hebert,  Bowyer,  and  Wreford  Brown  were  some 
of  those  who  had  helped  him. 

Dene  assumed  command  of  the  battalion,  and  Lux- 
moore  Ball  was  able  to  emerge  from  his  "nosebag" 

When  the  new  Commanding  Officer  took  over,  a  new 
situation  had  arisen. 



Since  September  1917  the  British  Army  had  taken  over 
a  further  twenty-eight  miles  of  front  from  the  French,  and 
at  the  date  we  have  now  arrived  at  a  total  of  125  miles 
of  front  was  held.  But  the  fighting  force  of  the  British 
Army  was  less  in  January  1918  than  it  had  been  in  1917. 
When  writing  of  divisions  from  this  date  onward  it  must 
be  borne  in  mind  by  the  reader  that  in  the  month  of 
February  they  were  reduced  from  thirteen  battalions  to 
ten  battalions,  and  that  under  this  arrangement  the 
Guards  Division  lost  the  4th  Battalion  Grenadier,  the 
3rd  Battalion  Coldstream,  and  the  2nd  Battalion  Irish 
Guards,  who  were  formed  into  a  4th  Guards  Brigade 
and  sent  to  the  31st  Division. 

Russia  was  no  longer  a  belligerent,  and  the  enemy 
had  now  an  enormous  number  of  divisions  and  artillery 
available  from  his  Eastern  Front.  By  the  middle  of 
February  thirty-four  divisions  had  been  transferred  from 
other  fronts  to  the  Western  Front,  and  the  talk  throughout 
the  whole  army  was  of  the  coming  German  offensive. 

Not  only  was  there  talk  but  a  tremendous  lot  of  work 
so  far  as  the  Guards  Division  was  concerned.  Whether 
the  battalion  was  in  the  line,  or  in  support,  large  digging 
fatigues  went  out  every  night,  or  were  employed  in 
carrying  up  quantities  of  revetting  material.  The  men 
never  worked  better,  and  the  results  of  their  labour  were 
no  doubt  felt  by  the  troops  who  fought  in  that  sector 
later  on. 


Feb.  1918]  ENEMY  RAIDS  197 

Catch-words  always  crop  up  on  these  occasions,  and 
the  one  most  in  use  at  that  time  was  "  defence  in  depth/' 
but  as  battalions  of  the  division  held  the  line  with  three 
companies  in  the  front  line  and  one  in  close  support,  and 
were  told  that  if  the  attack  came  the  enemy  would  sweep 
over  them,  and  in  time  utterly  exterminate  them,  defence 
in  depth  did  not  appeal  to  them  as  a  better  personal 
condition  of  affairs  than  any  other  system. 

Lieut.-Col.  Dene,  however,  took  all  these  things  in  a 
very  cool  manner,  and,  as  his  preoccupation  had  always 
been  with  the  line  and  the  fight  whenever  he  had  com- 
manded the  battalion  before,  so  it  was  now.  All  the 
lugubrious  preparations  for  an  enemy  advance  were 
hailed  by  the  battalion  with  shouts  of  laughter  and  much 
rough  banter  at  the  expense  of  the  staff,  who  were  accused 
of  being  "  windy."'  But,  in  spite  of  laughter,  it  became 
quite  a  pastime  to  count  divisions  and  try  to  arrive  at 
some  conclusion. 

"  Went  to  lunch  with  Jack  Stirling.  Vaneck  was  there 
and  Jack  began  to  count  out  divisions  on  the  Western 
Front.  Vaneck,  from  his  real  or  pretended  superior  know- 
ledge, contradicted  him  flat,  and  reminded  him  he  had 
left  out  the  Portuguese,  to  say  nothing  of  odd  little  gangs 
like  the  Canadians,  the  Australians,  and  the  Americans. 
Jack  was  somewhat  taken  aback,  but  then  said  we  had 
none  in  reserve,  whereupon  Vaneck  gave  him  figures  to 
show  that  we  had  quite  a  respectable  number,  and  with 
the  French  quite  as  many  as  the  Boche.  The  promising 
and  entertaining  argument  which  had  been  indicated 
seemed  to  be  deprived  of  its  backbone,  and  the  conversa- 
tion trailed  off  into  other  spheres.'' — Diary ^  C.  H.  D.  W. 

On  February  22nd  the  enemy  again  attempted  to  raid 
the  battalion  at  a  point  north  of  Roeux,  which  was  held 
by  No.  2  Company.  The  night  was  dark  and  they  had 
chosen  the  spot  with  care,  between  two  posts.  Walter 
Bonn  was  going  round  his  line,  followed  by  his  orderly, 
Feely,  a  thin,  red-faced,  long-nosed  Welshman,  with  a 

198  ARRAS  [Chap.  XIV 

humorous  twinlvle  in  his  eyes,  when  he  thought  he  heard, 
someone  cough  and  looked  over  the  parapet.  Bonn  could 
see  nothing,  but  Feely  declared  he  saw  something  move 
and  started  to  fire.  The  first  shot  roused  the  "  covey," 
as  Bonn  expressed  it,  and  they  both  blazed  away,  Feely 
with  his  rifle  and  Bonn  with  his  revolver.  The  posts  on 
either  side  now  saw  the  enemy  and  opened  fire,  and  there 
was  quite  a  lively  chorus  of  sound,  in  the  midst  of  which 
one  of  the  Germans  jumped  over  some  last  strands  of 
wire  and  into  the  trench,  to  be  immediately  hurled  to 
the  ground  by  Bonn,  who  proceeded  to  pummel  him 
unmercifully,  while  Feely  implored  him  to  get  out  of  the 
way  so  that  he  might  stick  his  bayonet  into  the  fellow. 
The  raiding  party,  carrying  two  wounded  or  dead,  dis- 
appeared into  the  night,  and  Bonn,  having  secured  his 
prisoner,  sent  out  a  patrol  which  came  back  with  some 
half  a  dozen  rifles  and  another  prisoner. 

From  the  prisoners  it  was  learned  that  the  party  was 
composed  of  thirty-seven  men  under  an  officer  and 
two  non-commissioned  officers,  and  that  they  had  been 
promised  two  weeks'  leave  if  they  returned  with  identi- 

As  the  battalion  held  some  two  thousand  yards  of  front 
line  with  three  companies,  a  raid  of  this  kind  had  every 
chance  of  success.  These  prisoners  had  not  been  holding 
the  line,  but  were  special  Sturm  Truppen  trained  for  the 
raid.  One  of  the  prisoners  said  the  big  offensive  would 
start  early  the  next  month,  the  other  professed  to  know 
nothing  about  it. 

The  enemy  were  very  active  with  raids,  and  in  a  little 
over  three  months  they  attempted  no  less  than  225  on 
the  British  Front.  As  the  season  progressed  the  British, 
who  had  been  quiet,  increased  their  raids,  and  through- 
out the  month  of  February  the  division  prepared  a  series 
of  "  minor  operations  "  which  took  effect  in  March.  Each 
brigade  was  to  carry  out  one,  and  the  3rd  Brigade  raid 
fell  to  the  Welsh  Guards. 

A  point  in  the  enemy's  defences,  where  one  of  his 
communication  trenches  joined  with  his  front  line  (Corn 
and  Crust),  was  selected,  and  Paul  Llewellyn,  with  thirty 

March  1918]        LLEWELLYN  RAIDS  199 

other  ranks,  was  chosen  to  do  it.  Claud  Insole,  who  had 
rejoined  the  battalion  a  few  days  before,  was  in  command 
of  the  arrangements.  As  usual  the  raid  was  practised 
behind  the  lines,  but  it  was  a  simple  case  of  trying  to  get 
identification  and  was  not  a  complicated  manoeuvre. 
The  enemy's  wire,  however,  was  very  strong. 

For  some  days  previous  to  the  attempt  the  big  trench- 
mortars  (6-inch  Newton)  fired  at  various  points  besides 
the  one  selected  for  the  raid,  and  blew  gaps  in  the  wire ; 
but  the  enemy  was  expecting  this  kind  of  enterprise, 
having  been  successfully  raided  by  both  the  1st  and  2nd 
Brigades  a  few  days  before,  and  was  in  no  way  deceived. 

At  4.58  a.m.  on  March  10th  the  artillery  opened  a 
protecting  screen  of  fire,  with  the  object  of  neutralising 
any  machine  guns  which  could  affect  the  success  of  the 
raid,  and  at  five  o'clock  Llewellyn  and  his  men  climbed 
over  the  parapet  and  dashed  across.^  They  reached  the 
enemy  trench  without  casualties,  and  in  a  few  minutes 
had  discovered  a  German,  whom  they  made  prisoner. 
But  the  enemy  had  cunningly  occupied  some  shell-holes 
on  the  far  side  of  the  trench,  and  now  proceeded  to  bomb 
them,  causing  a  few  casualties,  amongst  them  Llewellyn, 
who  had  his  thigh  broken.  A  few  bombs  in  return  caused 
the  Huns  to  run,  although  apparently  no  damage  was 
done.  Llewellyn  then  ordered  his  party  to  return  to 
their  lines,  pluckily  saw  the  last  man  out,  and  was  carried 
behind  them  by  his  orderly,  Duffy.  By  this  time  the 
enemy  had  opened  his  S.O.S.  barrage,  and  on  the  way 
back  the  prisoner  was  blown  up,  with  two  men  who  were 
taking  him,  and  a  dozen  other  men  were  hit. 

Claud  Insole  at  once  organised  search  parties  to  get 
the  wounded  in.  They  worked  hard  and  fast,  but  it  was 
getting  light,  and  an  enemy  machine  gun,  which  had 
been  missed  by  the  barrage,  enfiladed  the  ground.  They 
brought  in  all  the  wounded  they  could  see,  but  the  roll 
was  not  complete.  Sergt.  Glover,  although  himself 
wounded,  set  out  again  and  brought  in  two  ;  Sergt.  Ham 
and  Pte.  Duffy  brought  in  two  more  ;  there  remained 
only  the  two  dead  men  they  knew  of  and  Hughes,  a 

^  Appendix  B  11, 


200  ARRAS  [Chap.  XIV 

gallant  company  orderly.  In  spite  of  all  efforts  they 
failed  to  find  Hughes,  and  for  the  moment  gave  up 
further  attempts  ;  later  in  the  day,  however,  he  managed 
to  crawl  in  by  himself.  The  raid  had  failed  in  its  object, 
for  the  prisoner  was  literally  destroyed  by  a  direct  hit 
from  a  shell,  but  the  men  of  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Com- 
pany had  carried  out  their  part  with  the  greatest  gal- 
lantry and  coolness.     They  were  quite  ready  to  go  and 

Sketch  of  German  Position. 
Llewellyn  raided  through  the  Lower  Gap. 

get  another  prisoner,  particularly  Cpl.  Meredith,  who 
had  captured  the  man ;  but  that  was  out  of  the  question. 
The  enemy  artillery  fire  in  this  raid  gave  some  foretaste 
of  the  amount  of  guns  he  had  accumulated.  It  spread 
right  back  to  Battalion  H.Q.,  and  caused  casualties  far 
back  from  the  front  line.  The  gallant  Ballard,  watching 
the  shell-bursts  and  coloured  lights  from  the  mouth  of  his 
dugout,  was  killed  under  the  same  circumstances  as 
Byrne  a  few  days  before,  the  shell  striking  the  entrance 
to  the  dugout. 

March  1918]  WARNINGS  201 

Conditions  had  changed  enormously  since  the  bat- 
talion first  went  into  the  line.  When  company  com- 
manders had  gone  up  to  view  the  new  trenches  they  had 
walked  over  Mount  Pleasant  Hill,  to  avoid  the  twists 
and  turns  of  the  communication  trenches,  and  not  a  shot 
had  been  fired  at  them.  The  officers  they  had  taken 
over  from  spoke  well  of  the  line,  and  the  tameness  of  the 
enemy.  But  now  the  artillery  had  settled  down  to  what 
was  practically  one  continuous  bombardment,  broken 
only  by  convulsions  of  terrific,  whirlwind  fire. 

From  the  stafi  came  frequent  warnings  of  impending 
attack.  March  10th  was  confidently  expected  to  be  the 
day,  and  then  the  13th.  On  the  latter  date  the  battalion 
was  in  reserve  at  Gordon  Camp,  just  behind  the  railway 
on  the  east  of  Arras,  and  was  reduced  to  battle  numbers. 
The  company  sergeant-majors,  with  a  percentage  of  men, 
were  sent  back  under  2/Lieut.  Mathew  to  Arras,  the 
battalion  slept  in  full  equipment,  and  destructive  artillery 
fire  was  rained  on  the  enemy  lines  and  back  areas  from 
midnight  to  daylight.     No  attack  developed. 

These  continual  warnings  were  somewhat  trying  to 
the  nerves.    A  note  under  date  March  7th  reads  : 

"  They  tell  us  the  Boche  is  going  to  attack  on  Sunday  ! 
What  evidence  they  have  is  kept  locked  in  their  bosoms. 
They  cannot  tell  us  definitely  what  to  expect,  although 
so  precise  in  date  and  locality,  and  so  every  possible  form 
of  attack  is  solemnly  enumerated.  Orders  for  defence 
are  changed  with  the  greatest  regularity — no  wonder 
poor  old  Broncho  [Commanding  Officer]  gets  worried. 
And  with  it  all,  intentional  or  not,  is  '  wind,'  by  the  side 
of  which  German  frightfulness  is  mere  child's  play. 
Broncho  said  to  me  to-night :  '  I  don't  know  if  we  shall 
get  out  of  this  alive,  but  it  is  better  to  be  dead  than  to 
be  messed  about  indefinitely !  '  But  the  depths  of  his 
depression  are  not  very  profound,  as  he  quickly  added 
that  he  would  make  Fritz  pay  before  he  was  finished. 
There  is  very  little  enemy  preparation  that  one  can  see, 
but  I  have  found  one  trench  which  seems  to  have  no 
purpose  beyond  that  of  an  assembly  trench." 

202  ARRAS  [Chap.  XIV 

And  on  Marcli  8th  : 

"  Broncho  came  to  see  me  and  brought  a  map  on  which 
were  marked  all  the  new  machine-gun  positions,  which 
seem  extremely  satisfactory.  Personally  I  don't  believe 
the  entire  Boche  Army  will  get  through  this  bit  of  line. 
He  told  me  he  had  seen  the  Corps  Commander  (Fergus- 
son)  this  morning,  and  that  he  was  quite  confident  and 
wished  the  Boche  would  attack.  To-day  the  policy  is 
to  encourage  everyone,  but  I  don't  believe  the  remarks 
of  the  staff  in  general  make  the  slightest  difference  to  the 
spirits  of  the  soldiery,  who  receive  all  warnings,  whether 
of  a  confident  or  a  depressing  nature,  with  grins  and 
laughter.  The  gunning  to-day  has  been  very  active  on 
both  sides,  but  I  think  we  have  been  more  aggressive 
than  the  Boche.  One  thing  is  certain — if  he  comes  in 
any  strength  my  front  line  is  bound  to  go,  and  I  am 
making  all  the  preparations  I  know  of  to  fight  in  the 

support It   seems   to   me  that  the  Boche  has 

either  moved  up  more  guns  or  been  forced  to  disclose 
silent  batteries  ;  but  hours  of  watching  through  a  tele- 
scope reveal  no  further  preparation  or  movement/' 
^Diary,  C.  H.  D.  W. 

The  battalion  went  into  the  line  again  on  the  15th  and 
worked  hard,  digging  and  completing  new  trenches.  On 
the  night  of  the  19th  the  2nd  Battalion  Seaforth  High- 
landers took  over,  and  the  battalion  went  by  train  to 
Bernaville  for  a  month  of  rest  and  training.  On  the 
morning  of  the  21st  the  storm  broke. 

Between  4  a.m.  and  5  a.m.  the  Fifth  and  Third  Armies, 
holding  from  the  Oise  to  the  Scarpe  Rivers,  were  engaged 
by  a  fierce  and  intense  bombardment  from  the  smallest 
trench-mortar  to  the  long-range  high- velocity  guns, which 
bombarded  as  far  back  as  St.  Pol.  The  corps  holding 
this  front  were:  in  the  Fifth  Army — the  III  (Butler), 
XVIII  (Maxse),  XIX  (Watts),  VII  (Congreve) ;  in  the 
Third  Army — V  (Fanshawe),  IV  (Harper),  VI  (Haldane), 
XVII  (Fergusson).  The  average  front  for  each  division 
in  the  Fifth  Army  was  6,750  yards,  and  in  the  Third 

March  1918]     THE   GERMAN   OFFENSIVE  203 

Army  4.700  yards.  The  number  of  divisions  in  each 
army  was  fourteen  infantry  and  three  cavalry  in  the 
Fifth  Army,  and  fifteen  infantry  divisions  in  the  Third 
Army;  on  March  21st  sixty-four  German  divisions  were 
launched  against  them. 

It  is  only  possible  to  give  a  bare  outline  of  this  great 
offensive,  launched  on  a  fifty-four  mile  front.  Generally 
speaking,  the  defensive  system  was  divided  into  an  out- 
post area  and  a  battle  zone — the  latter  having  two  or 
three  lines  of  defence  according  to  the  progress  of  work. 
By  the  end  of  the  first  day  the  enemy  had  reached  the 
battle  zone  everywhere  where  he  had  pressed  his  attack 
(which  did  not  extend  seriously  north  of  the  Sensee  River, 
and  was  not  launched  vigorously  against  the  Flesqui^res 
salient) .  On  the  Third  Army  front  Demicourt,  Doignies, 
Lagnicourt,  Bullecourt  had  fallen  to  the  enemy. 

Remembering  the  position  where  the  Guards  Division 
was,  behind  and  slightly  to  the  south  of  Arras,  the 
enemy's  advance  of  some  5,000  yards  on  the  south  of  the 
Sensee  to  the  outskirts  of  St.  Leger  and  Croisilles  made 
it  obvious  that  it  would  soon  be  engaged.  The  following 
notes  will  indicate  how  the  attack  affected  the  battalion 
at  the  time : 

"  The  great  attack  has  apparently  started.  I  think 
the  cannonade  began  about  one  this  morning,  at  least  it 
seemed  to  me  that  I  heard  it  most  of  the  night,  and  at 
five  it  became  absolutely  furious.  We  lay  in  our  beds 
and  tried  to  sleep,  but,  as  we  all  expected  to  be  called 
out  any  moment,  did  no  more  than  snooze.  It  went  on 
well  into  the  morning  and  only  died  down  about  eleven. 
.  .  .  The  attack  at  present  just  misses  our  old  sector,  and 
is  apparently  south  of  the  Sensee  River,  but  being  in 
reserve  we  are  liable  to  be  sent  anywhere.  Of  course  it 
has  meant  much  talk  and  speculation,  and  we  have 
gathered  together  over  maps  in  the  mess,  or  in  one  of 
our  huts— I  share  one  with  Bonn,  Claud  Insole,  and 
'  SquifE '  (L.  F.)  Ellis— and  tried  to  make  out  exactly 
what  the  Hun  is  trying  to  do.  So  far  as  we  know  he  has 
bent  our  line  on  a  small  front  of  three  miles ;  but,  as 

204  BERNAVILLE  [Chap.  XIV 

rumour  has  it  that  he  is  attacking  on  a  fifty-mile  front, 
it  does  not  seem  a  great  success.  Everyone  seems  to 
think  it  is  the  real  thing,  and  I  believe  there  is  a  feeling 
of  relief  that  it  has  come.  .  .  . 

"  March  22nd. — The  night  was  quiet,  but  now,  mid- 
day, the  battle  rages.  They  say  we  are  inflicting  heavy 
losses  with  machine-gun  fire,  and  have  only  lost  a  small 
fraction  of  ground,  but  all  our  news  only  applies  to  our 
own  Army  (Third).  If  we  don't  move  off  to  battle  to- 
day we  play  football  with  the  Kiddies.  .  .  .  Scarcely 
had  I  written  the  above  when  an  order  came  for  the 
battalion  to  move  at  once.  Broncho  dashed  off  in  a 
motor-bus  to  reconnoitre  the  line,  but  the  work  went  on 
under  Ball.  Broncho  returned  at  2  p.m.  and  at  2.15  the 
battalion  marched  off  for  a  mile  or  so,  and  then  by 
bus.  .  .  .  The  transport  followed  later — poor  old  Bob 
Bonsor  fussing  like  a  hen  with  ducklings,  and  being 
seriously  impeded  by  his  dog,  which  he  led  on  a  string 
and  managed  to  entangle  with  people,  horses,  or  carts. '* 

The  battalion  arrived  at  Mercatel  about  four  in  the 
afternoon  and  took  over  a  camp  from  the  1st  Coldstream 
Guards.  There  had  been  no  break-through  in  front  of 
them,  but  the  line  was  falling  back. 

That  night  the  Third  Army  readjusted  its  front  and 
withdrew  from  the  Flesqui^res  salient,  and  also  swung 
back  from  the  Scarpe,  occupying  the  third  line  of  the 
battle  zone  from  Henin  to  Fampoux. 

There  was  much  night  skirmishing  and  shelling  during 
this  readjustment,  and  the  battalion  passed  an  unsettled 
night,  expecting  to  be  called  out  at  every  minute. 

The  enemy  success  was  to  the  right  of  where  the 
division  was  holding  the  line,  and  in  the  early  morning 
of  the  23rd  they  broke  through  at  Mory,  a  village  some 
six  miles  away.  It  became  clear  that  the  division  would 
have  to  swing  back,  and  the  Commanding  Officer  and 
Company  Commanders  reconnoitred  the  systems  of  de- 
fence behind  them.  But  that  evening  the  battalion 
moved  up  in  close  support  to  the  front  line,  relieving  the 
2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  and  details  of  the  31st  and 

Makch  1918]     THE   GERMAN   OFFENSIVE  205 

3rd  Divisions  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Boyelles  ;  and  the 
next  day  again  relieved  the  Scots  Guards  in  the  front  line 
east  of  Boiry  Becquerelles. 

Aeroplanes  had  reported  that  the  enemy  was  massing 
between  Henin  and  Croisilles,  and  the  battalion  stood 
to  arms  all  night,  but  no  attack  developed.  When  day- 
light broke  on  the  25th  much  enemy  movement  was  seen 
in  the  neighbourhood  of  Henin,  and  the  enemy  was 
obviously  bringing  up  more  troops  behind  a  ridge  or  fold 
of  the  ground  about  800  yards  away.  The  system  he 
employed  was  a  lengthy  one,  but  very  effective  :  his 
troops  trickled  into  the  required  position  by  threes  and 
fours,  offering  visible  but  small  and  uncertain  targets 
which  approached  over  a  wide  front,  and  continued 
doing  so  the  whole  day. 

But  there  was  no  cause  for  alarm.  The  division  had 
beaten  off  repeated  attacks  on  the  previous  days,  and 
this  left  wing  of  the  Third  Army  was  holding  its  ground, 
and  was  only  forced  to  new  positions  by  the  enemy 
successes  on  its  right.  Farther  away  still  the  Fifth 
Army  was  fearfully  strung  out,  but  since  I\Iarch  23rd  the 
French  were  rapidly  taking  over  the  front  south  of 

The  Guards  Division  had  now  been  transferred  from 
the  XVII  to  the  VI  Corps,  and  on  the  right  of  the  \T 
was  the  IV  and  then  the  V  Corps.  On  the  morning  of 
the  25th  fierce  fighting  took  place  from  Ervillers  to  the 
south,  and,  though  Ervillers  held,  the  enemy  pressed  for- 
ward to  Grevillers  in  the  afternoon.  Between  Grevillers 
and  Montauban  was  a  gap  separating  the  IV  and  V  Corps, 
and  by  the  evening  of  the  25th  advanced  troops  of  the 
enemy  were  near  Puisieux-au-mont  and  Serre.  So 
during  the  night  25th/26th  the  IV  Corps  fell  back  on 
the  line  Bucquoy— Ablainzevelle,  their  left  being  in 
touch  with  the  VI  Corps  at  Boyelles. 

The  situation  was  so  critical  that  at  2.30  a.m.  on  the 
25th  the  Commanding  Officer  received  a  warning  order 
that  the  Higher  Command  considered  it  might  be  neces- 
sary to  withdraw  some  five  miles  to  a  line  Adinfer — 
Ficheux — Blairville,  which  was  called  the  Purple  Line  ; 

206  BOYELLES  [Chap.  XIV 

but  this  was  altered  to  an  order  to  withdraw  to  a  line 
Boisleux  St.  Marc — Mercatel. 

The  Welsh  Guards  were  on  the  right  of  the  divisional 
front,  and  the  orders  to  withdraw  were  received  at 
1 1 .30  p.m.,  although  they  mentioned  the  hour  of  10  p.m. ; 
but  that  something  of  the  sort  was  happening  the  Cbm- 
manding  Officer  was  well  aware,  as  the  brigade  on  his 
right  had  started  to  go  about  10  p.m.  However,  the 
movement  was  carried  out  in  conjunction  with  the  1st 
Battalion  Grenadier  Guards,  on  the  left. 

No.  2  Company,  under  Bonn,  held  the  line  for  twenty 
minutes  after  the  Prince  of  Wales's  and  No.  3  Companies 
had  gone,  and  then  passed  through  No.  4  Company,  who 
remained  in  the  support  line  and  covered  the  withdrawal 
of  No.  2.  Bonn  had  no  easy  task  to  perform,  as  before 
the  twenty  minutes  were  complete  the  enemy  appeared 
on  his  wire — he  was  dispersed,  but  other  patrols  appeared 
as  the  last  section  were  leaving  the  line.  The  enemy, 
however,  was  not  unduly  anxious  to  press  on  Bonn's 
heels,  and  No.  2  Company  passed  through  No.  4,  who  in 
their  turn  left  at  the  time  appointed  without  seeing  the 

The  whole  battalion  passed  through  the  2nd  Battalion 
Scots  Guards,  who  were  in  position  just  behind  Boyelles, 
and  remained  in  close  support  in  front  of  Boisleux  St. 

March  26th  was  quiet,  but  farther  south  there  was 
some  confusion,  and  at  the  end  of  the  day  the  right  of 
the  Third  Army  (which  had  assumed  command  of  all 
troops  north  of  the  Somme  on  the  25th)  had  retired 
beyond  the  limits  of  necessity  and  rested  on  the  Somme, 
about  Sailly-le-Sec,  while  the  left  of  the  Fifth  Army  was 
five  miles  farther  east.  This  was  ground  gained  by  the 
enemy  with  no  effort,  and  on  the  27th  he  attacked  from 
Bucquoy  to  Boyelles. 

The  attack  opened  with  heavy,  destructive  artillery  fire 
in  combination  with  sweeping  machine-gun  fire,  from 
which  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  su  tiered  severely. 
Before  the  enemy  launched  his  infantry  Nos.  2  and  4 
Companies  of  the  Welsh  Guards  moved  up  in  extended 

March  1918]      THE  GERIMAN   OFFENSIVE  207 

formation  close  behind  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards, 
on  to  some  high  ground,  and  obtained  an  excellent  view 
of  the  Germans  being  cut  to  pieces  by  the  depleted  ranks 
of  the  Scots  Guards.  The  enemy  were  unable  to  reach 
the  wire. 

But  further  on  the  right  the  enemy  gained  possession 
of  Ablainzevelle  and  Ayette,  although  he  was  thrown 
out  of  the  latter  village  a  few  days  later. 

On  the  night  of  the  27th  the  battalion  relieved  the  1st 
Battahon  Grenadier  Guards  on  the  right  of  the  divisional 

The  battalion  held  a  front  of  some  2,000  yards  with 
their  right  on  Boyelles,  and  at  7  a.m.  on  the  28th  the 
enemy  commenced  to  bombard  the  trenches,  and  con- 
tinued doing  so  with  increased  violence  until  11.30  a.m. 
Companies  on  the  right  of  the  line  reported  the  enemy 
massing  in  Boyelles,  which  was  partly  concealed  by  a 
rise  in  the  ground.  The  Commanding  Officer  put  the 
artillery  on  to  him,  and  the  attack  did  not  develop  in 
that  quarter.  On  the  left,  however,  the  enemy  drove 
back  the  division  holding  the  hill  north  of  Boiry  Bec- 
querelle  on  to  the  main  Arras — Bapaume  Road,  and  pro- 
ceeded to  attack  the  flank  of  the  Prince  of  Wales's 
Company.  Claud  Insole  was  not  to  be  caught  that  way. 
He  blocked  his  trench  and  held  it  with  bombers,  while 
his  Lewis  Guns  cleared  the  open  ground ;  2/Lieut.  E.J. 
Davies  was  killed  while  repelling  this  attack. 

Later  in  the  day  the  enemy  could  be  seen  bringing  up 
guns  on  the  distant  ridge,  but  the  rest  of  the  day  was 
quiet.  In  the  evening  orders  were  given  for  the  battalion 
to  conform  with  the  division  on  the  left ;  the  Switch 
Trench  was  abandoned,  and  the  left  of  the  battalion  fell 
back  on  to  the  Green  Line,  a  short  distance  in  rear. 

The  attack  on  this  day  stretched  from  Puisieux  to 
north  of  Arras,  but  the  weight  of  it  was  directed  against 
the  4th  (Matheson)  and  the  56tii  (Dudgeon)  Divisions  on 
the  north,  and  the  3rd  and  15th  Divisions  on  the  south 
of  the  Scarpe  River.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  the 
4th  Division  held  the  line  immediately  north  of  the  river 
and  inflicted  a  heavy  defeat  on  the  enemy ;    and  that. 

208  BOYELLES  [Chap.  XIV 

although  the  outpost  line  was  overwhelmed,  a  party  of 
the  2nd  Battalion  Seaf  orth  Highlanders,  who  had  reheved 
the  Welsh  Guards  at  Roeux,  successfully  held  those  ruins 
all  day. 

The  Commanding  Officer  was  now  relieved  by  Lux- 
moore  Ball.  Arthur  Gibbs  and  L.  F.  Ellis  went  up  from 
the  reinforcement  camp  the  next  day  and  joined  their 
companies.  A  few  men  also  went  up  from  the  re- 
inforcement camp  to  relieve  an  equal  number  of  tired 

The  29th  was  a  quiet  day,  but  on  the  30th  the  enemy 
opened  destructive  fire  at  8  a.m.  on  our  front  line 
trenches,  which  he  increased  at  8.45  a.m.  and  spread  to 
the  back  areas.  Luxmoore  Ball  had  a  very  fair  view  of 
the  front  line  from  his  headquarters,  situated  in  a  sunken 
road  on  the  east  side  of  Boisleux  St.  Marc,  and  with  an 
artillery  officer  watched  the  proceedings.  The  danger- 
spot  was  Boyelles,  half  hidden  by  a  rise  in  the  ground, 
and  a  spot  where  concentration  could  be  effected  without 
being  seen.  An  attack  from  this  direction  would  involve 
his  right  flanli  company.  No.  4  Company,  to  which  Claud 
Insole  had  been  moved  on  the  return  to  the  Prince  of 
Wales's  Company  of  Arthur  Gibbs. 

At  10.20  a.m.  the  enemy  thickened  his  artillery  with 
machine-gun  fire,  and  a  few  minutes  later  our  artillery 
barrage  came  down  across  Boyelles. 

At  10.45  a.m.  the  enemy  artillery  lifted  of!  the  front 
line  trenches  to  the  supports,  and  was  replaced  with 
intense  machine-gun  fire  from  the  ridge  north  of  Boiry 
Becquerelle.  At  the  same  time  fourteen  aeroplanes  came 
over  and  dropped  bombs,  diving  at  intervals  and  firing 
at  the  front  line.  Under  cover  of  this  overhead  fire  the 
enemy  debouched  and  advanced  from  Boyelles. 

The  attack  was  directed  against  the  1st  Battalion 
Grenadier  Guards  on  the  right  and  No.  4  Company  Welsh 
Guards,  and  was  met  with  overwhelming  rifle  and  Lewis 
Gun  fire.  Luxmoore  Ball  had  also  caused  two  machine 
guns  to  be  placed  on  the  bank  above  his  headquarters, 
and  these,  firing  over  the  heads  of  the  front  line  troops, 
swept  the  ground  before  the  advancing  enemy. 

March  1918]    THE   GER:\IAN   OFFENSIVE  209 

A  letter  from  Claud  Insole  throws  light  on  the  situa- 
tion : 

"  I  was  relieved  the  night  before  last  by  Dudley  Ward, 
and  was  sent  to  the  transport  for  a  rest.  I  arrived  back 
about  3  a.m.  and  spent  all  yesterday,  Easter  Sunday,  in 
bed.  The  day  before  yesterday  we  had  a  very  exciting 
day,  after  a  quiet  night  in  which  we  did  a  lot  of  wiring, 
and  getting  up  ammunition  and  bombs,  etc.,  and  digging 
ourselves  deeper  into  the  ground.  The  Huns  started  to 
shell  us  about  8  a.m.,  with  every  sort  of  shell  from  8-inch, 
till  the  ground  fairly  rocked  and  the  air  was  full  of  smoke. 
That  lasted  until  about  10.30  a.m.,  when  the  barrage 
lifted  and  the  Huns  came  over,  mostly  against  the 
Grenadiers  on  my  right  and  my  company ;  the  rest  of  the 
battalion  did  not  get  attacked.  ^Ye  got  off  very  lightly 
considering  what  a  heavy  shelUng  it  was,  and  the  relief 
when  it  lifted  was  so  great  that  the  men  fairly  cheered 
with  delight  when  they  saw  the  Huns  coming,  and  some 
stood  on  the  parapet  and  shouted  to  them  to  come  on. 
They  came  on  in  twos  and  threes,  running  from  shell-hole 
to  shell-hole,  and  down  hedges  and  ditches,  but  they 
never  got  nearer  than  our  w^ire,  which  runs  out  for  250 
yards,  so  the  shooting  was  quite  difficult.  I  think  I  got 
about  four  which  I  saw  drop,  but  one  cannot  be  certain ; 
but  I  took  most  careful  aim.'' 

The  execution  was  very  great.  At  one  bad  spot  on 
the  right  a  few  of  the  enemy  managed  to  reach  the 
Grenadier  Guards'  trench,  and  were  sent  up  to  brigade 
as  "  souvenirs."  These  prisoners  said  two  battalions 
had  attacked,  with  one  in  support. 

The  rest  of  the  day  was  quiet  except  that  the  hedges 
in  front  of  No.  4  Company  were  still  occupied  by  the 
enemy,  who  employed  himself  by  shooting  at  stretcher- 
bearers  carrying  the  wounded  out  of  the  line.  The 
stretcher-bearers  always  declared  that  this  was  not  gene- 
rally done,  and  the  risks  they  took  seemed  to  bear  out 
their  contention,  but  on  this  occasion  two  were  killed, 

210  BOYELLES  [Chap.     XIV 

and  there  was  no  doubt  as  to  what  they  were  or  what 
they  were  doing. 

The  night  was  very  dark,  and  patrols  searching  the 
grcKind  were  fired  at,  and  did  not  succeed  in  bringing 
back  any  information.  But  the  next  day,  the  31st,  after 
carefully  watching  the  hedges,  Sergt.  Waddington  took 
out  a  patrol  of  twelve  men  and  a  Lewis  Gun  and  searched 
the  ground,  but  with  orders  not  to  become  involved  with 
the  enemy  in  Boyelles.  He  counted  and  searched  nine- 
teen dead  on  the  near  side  of  the  first  hedge  about  five 
hundred  yards  away,  and  reported  many  more  on  the  far 
side  of  it ;  he  also  brought  in  two  wounded  Germans  and 
a  machine  gun.  The  movement  was  observed  by  the 
enemy  artillery,  which  opened  fire,  and,  as  there  was  no 
object  in  holding  the  line  of  the  hedge,  he  came  back 
without  casualties. 

It  is  seldom  possible  to  find  out  what  actual  damage 
a  battalion  has  inflicted  on  the  enemy,  but  as  this  bit  of 
front  was  protected  from  the  fire  of  the  Grenadier  Guards 
through  the  formation  of  the  ground,  the  battalion  may 
claim  to  be  responsible  for  all  the  dead  opposite  the  front 
held  by  it,  and  the  right  wing  of  the  German  attack  was 
entirely  dealt  with  by  Nos.  4  and  2  Companies  of  the 
Welsh  Guards. 

The  battalion  casualties  were  six  killed  and  twelve 

On  the  night  of  the  31st  the  battalion  was  relieved  by 
the  26th  Canadian  Infantry  Battalion,  first-rate  troops, 
who  not  only  had  organisation  and  efficiency  as  watch- 
words, but  carried  out  the  principles  in  a  manner  which 
commanded  the  greatest  admiration.  The  Prince  of 
Wales's  and  No.  3  Companies  went  to  a  forward  reserve 
position  in  a  railway  bank  and  the  remainder  of  the 
battalion  to  Blairville. 

The  big  German  attack  on  the  Somme  battle  area 
ceased  after  April  5th  for  a  while,  and  was  not  re- 
newed at  all  on  the  Guards  Divisional  front.  Of 
the  total  of  fifty-eight  British  divisions  on  the  Western 
Front  forty-six  had  been  used  in  this  battle,  but 
although  the  enemy  had  made  a  deep  salient  he  had 



March  1918]     THE   GERMAN  OFFENSIVE  211 

not  reached  Amiens,  as  he  had  hoped,  or  indeed  any 
other  vital  point. 

It  was  remarked  during  this  trying  time  that  the 
troops  holding  the  front  lines  were  far  less  excited  than 
the  organisation  in  rear.  Rumour  is  ever  a  powerful 
enemy  in  war,  and  on  this  occasion  it  was  perhaps  more 
dangerous  than  the  Germans. 

"  It  was  evident  from  the  state  of  the  roads,  the  be- 
haviour of  the  military  and  civil  population,  and  the 
rumours  that  seemed  to  be  shouted  about,  that  something 
very  near  a  panic  was  going  on.  Early  in  the  morning 
of  the  26th  all  reinforcements  were  ordered  to  hold  some 
roads  a  mile  from  Halloy  on  a  story  that  the  enemy  had 
broken  through.  Two  excitable  brigadiers  spread  alarm 
by  shouting  to  everyone  they  met  to  get  to  their  posts, 
so  2,000  men  were  made  to  lie  out  in  fields  all  day,  and 
at  five  in  the  evening  march  five  miles  to  repel  an  enemy 
probably  ten  miles  away  from  that  point,  and  then  five 
miles  back  again.  As  a  Frenchman  told  me  :  *  We  see 
the  military  marching  and  countermarching  in  an  un- 
decided manner,  and,  not  knowing  what  has  happened, 
become  alarmed/  " — Diary,  C.  H.  D.  W. 

In  the  midst  of  all  this  turmoil  Gen.  Foch  had  assumed 
supreme  command  of  all  operations  (March  26th). 

On  April  9th  the  enemy  transferred  his  attentions  to 
the  Lys  Valley,  and  for  a  while  things  hung  in  the 
balance,  but  he  was  eventually  stopped.  The  4th  Guards 
Brigade  did  some  gallant  deeds  in  the  northern  fighting. 

Note. — "  In  the  short  course  of  the  German  offensive 
our  armies  in  France  lost,  either  by  capture  or  destruction, 
1,000  guns,  70,000  tons  of  ammunition,  4,000  machine 
guns,  200,000  rifles,  250,000,000  rounds  of  small-arm 
ammunition,  700  trench-mortars,  and  200  tanks.  These 
losses  were  made  good  in  a  fortnight." — Mr.  Kellaway, 
House  of  Commons,  25/6/19. 



Blairville  was  on  some  high  ground  that  fell  away 
towards  the  north-east  and  gave  a  fine  view  of  the  coun- 
try as  far  as  Monchy.  liOoking  towards  the  enemy  (east) 
from  Blairville,  the  outstanding  feature  was  a  spur  run- 
ning from  the  main  ridge  in  a  northern  direction  and 
curving  to  the  east ;  from  this  spur  all  the  country  over 
Boyelles  and  in  the  direction  of  St.  liCger  was  visible. 
The  British  undoubtedly  held  the  superior  position, 
although  from  some  points  the  enemy  could  obtain  very 
good  observation  over  our  forward  positions. 

From  the  point  of  view  of  comfort  of  troops,  however, 
the  situation  was  not  so  good.  They  were  in  the  devas- 
tated area  from  which  the  Germans  had  retreated  in  the 
early  part  of  1917,  and  although  since  then  vast  hut- 
camps  had  been  erected,  the  last  battle  had  reduced 
these  to  a  mass  of  charred  and  broken  wood,  and  twisted, 
shrapnel-riddled  bits  of  tin.  The  enemy  completely  de- 
stroyed everything  in  the  nature  of  a  camp  within  reach 
of  his  guns,  and  made  most  of  the  material  useless.  New 
material  was  almost  impossible  to  get,  and  the  only 
shelter  for  troops  when  out  of  the  front  line  was  in  a  few 
huts  behind  Blairville.  These  huts,  besides  being  in- 
adequate, were  inconveniently  situated,  and  eventually 
there  was  a  readjustment  which  placed  all  troops  in 
trenches  to  the  south  of  Blairville.  But  for  the  time 
being  two  companies  found  shelter  in  the  huts  of  Blair- 
ville and  two  in  the  "  Purple  Line  "  in  front  of  Blairville. 
The  usual  rotation  of  reliefs  went  on. 


April  1918]  BOYELLES  213 

On  April  5th  No.  3  Company,  now  under  Claud  Insole, 
captured  a  prisoner,  who  stated  that  no  further  attacks 
were  to  be  made  on  this  front ;  but  the  enemy  artillery 
were  very  busy,  and  the  trenches  became  very  bad  owing 
to  rain. 

"  Shelled  all  night,  sometimes  growing  intense — at  five 
this  morning  it  was  fairly  fierce.  Claud  got  a  prisoner, 
who  says  there  is  plenty  of  artillery  in  front  of  us  but 
not  many  troops — he  was  a  nasty,  slimy  man.  It  rained 
all  night,  but  the  day  is  fine.  The  trouble  is  that  one 
cannot  get  dry,  and  one  only  sleeps  when  practically 
done  in.  Toby  Mathew  is  very  amusing.  His  trousers 
are  caked  with  mud,  his  coat  is  one  running  sludge  of 
mud,  his  respirator  bag  a  "  wodge ''  of  crumpled  muddy 
canvas  round  his  neck,  his  face  is  streaked  with  dirt  and 
his  tin  hat  negligently  hung  on  his  head  well  over  his 
right  eye.  He  is  only  nineteen,  has  a  face  like  a  baby, 
and  a  keen  sense  of  humour." 

The  battalion  was  relieved  at  midnight,  and  two  com- 
panies occupied  the  Purple  Line  for  one  night  and  then 
changed  over  with  the  other  two  in  the  huts  at  Blairville. 

"  We  did  not  go  back  to  billets,  but  to  an  open  trench 
with  no  cover  at  all  for  the  men.  It  was  so  dark  we  had 
to  wait  till  the  morning,  and  then  got  broken  bits  of  tin 
from  shelled  huts  and  made  shelters.  It  stopped  raining 
and  the  men's  spirits  rose.  .  .  . 

"  April  Sth. — Rear  organisation  is  getting  better,  but 
does  not  yet  run  to  time,  and  everyone  can  still  be  said 
to  be  living  from  hand  to  mouth.  I  have  men  now  who 
are  ragged  about  the  trousers  to  the  extent  of  indecency, 
and  many  have  their  bare  toes  sticking  through  their 
boots.  I  wash  on  an  average  every  other  day,  but  the 
men  are  worse  off,  and  only  get  a  shower-bath  and  a 
change  of  clothing  once  a  fortnight.  These  small  things 
count,  as  a  clean  man  is  always  more  refreshed  than  a 
dirty  one.  Our  hut  for  the  one-day  rest  is  a  small  two- 
roomed  wooden  shack,  and  has  in  it  eight  officers  so 

214  BOYELLES  [Chap.  XV 

closely  packed  that  they  cannot  all  get  up  at  once.  In 
the  morning  fried  eggs  and  bacon  are  side  by  side  with 
shaving  soap  and  hair-brushes,  and  a  man  washes  from 
one  basin  next  to  a  similar  one  from  which  another  eats 
porridge.  .  .  .  There  is  still  a  coming  and  going  of  troops 
both  on  our  own  and  the  enemy  side,  and  all  in  full  view 
of  each  other — and  the  cannonade  is  continuous.  Bron- 
cho Dene  and  Claud  hold  out  well,  and  indeed  it  is  the 
younger  men  who  crack.  Stokes,  a  useful  young  officer 
about  twenty-three  years  of  age,  has  cracked,  and  Mar- 
shall Roberts  is  on  the  verge  of  it.  Bonn  and  Romer 
Williams  are  both  strong  as  horses.  But  the  private 
soldier  is  a  marvel,  and  my  admiration  for  him  is  beyond 
bounds.  .  .  .  My  two  boys,  Toby  Mathew  and  Ben 
Davies,  are  splendid." — Diary,  C.  H.  D.  W . 

During  the  next  tour  in  the  line  the  battalion  suffered 
a  great  loss  in  the  death  of  Claud  Insole,  on  April  12th. 

"  Gentle,  gallant  Claud  is  dead.  ...  It  was  a  beauti- 
ful sunny  day,  and,  after  looking  round  for  an  hour  or 
so,  I  returned  to  my  dugout  and  Keith  Menzies  rang  me 
up  and  told  me  Claud  had  been  killed  by  a  shell.  '  I 
thought  you  would  like  to  know,'  said  he,  and  I  replied 
*  Thanks !  '  Speech  means  nothing.  The  divisional 
chaplain  said  to  our  chaplain,  Mog,  when  the  battle  was 
on  :  '  What  have  you  been  doing,  Mog  ?  ' — '  I  called  at 
the  casualty  clearing- station  and  buried  eight  men,'  re- 
plied Mog.     '  Good,'  said  the  other  man  of  God.  .  .  ." 

On  April  14th  the  division  was  relieved  by  the  2nd 
Division.  The  Welsh  Guards  were  relieved  by  the  17th 
Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers  and  marched  back  to  Barly 
via  Beaumetz,  Monchiet  and  Gouy ;  but  the  next  day 
they  moved  to  a  camp  at  Fosseux.  The  division  was 
now  in  Third  Army  reserve  and  under  orders  to  move 
at  three  hours'  notice. 

The  country  round  Fosseux  and  Barly  was  closely 
cultivated,  and  the  usual  restrictions  as  to  growing  crops 
were  in  force,  so  that  field  work  could  not  be  carried  out 

April  1918]  STAFF    CHANGES  215 

on  any  useful  scale.  In  any  case,  the  peasants  were  very 
sensitive  at  that  time,  as  a  camp  of  Chinamen  lay  between 
Fosseux  and  Barly,  and  these  strange  labourers  were 
working  all  day  completing  new  lines  of  defence  in  the 
event  of  fresh  attacks  and  the  evacuation  of  more  coun- 
try, and  the  damage  to  growing  crops  was  great.  But 
there  was  a  fair  rifle-range,  and  the  battaUon  profited  by 
it.  Also  Romer  WilHams,  who  had  been  responsible  for 
Bob  Bonsor's  dog,  a  police  dog  from  Paris,  produced  with 
equal  ease  two  good  ponies.  The  ponies  were  matched 
against  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  "  stable  "  with 
excellent  results. 

Brig.-Gen.  Follett  took  command  of  the  brigade,  which 
since  April  2nd  had  been  under  Lieut.-Col.  Orr  Ewing. 
Lord  Henry  Seymour,  "  Copper,"  as  he  was  universally 
called,  brave  as  a  lion,  and  always  cheery,  was  much 
regretted  when  he  left.  In  the  new  brigadier  the  bat- 
talion welcomed  a  tried  and  courageous  battalion  com- 
mander with  long  service  and  experience  in  France.  He 
was  a  tall,  dark,  strong- faced  man  with  a  quiet  manner  ; 
there  was  a  look  of  Lord  Kitchener  about  him.  At  times 
he  had  a  curious  abbreviated  manner  of  speaking,  jerking 
out  single  words  separated  by  long  pauses.  In  the  mid- 
dle of  the  summer,  one  very  hot  day,  when  everybody 
was  sitting  in  their  shirt- sleeves,  he  arrived  at  Battalion 
H.Q.  with  his  face  streaming  with  perspiration.  "  Drip- 
ing  !  "  said  he.  "  Fearful,"  replied  the  Commanding 
Officer,  "  can't  move."  The  brigadier  looked  at  him 
without  a  blink  of  his  eyelid.  "  No.  .  .  .  Meat  fat  .  .  . 
bad  return  ...  see  to  it."  And  it  gradually  dawned  on 
Lieut.-Col.  Dene  that  it  was  the  salvage  of  beef  dripping 
the  brigadier  was  talking  about. 

At  this  time  there  was  a  general  change  of  stafT. 
Aubrey  Fletcher,  who  had  been  brigade  major  to  the 
3rd  Guards  Brigade,  went  to  divisional  staf¥,  as  did 
Calverly  Bewicke,  the  staff  captain.  Both  of  them  had 
been  good  friends  to  the  battalion.  And  Cecil  Keith,  a 
"  learner,"  quite  a  youngster  but  remarkably  able,  who 
had  been  mth  the  brigade  staf!  for  a  long  time,  also  went 
to  the  division.     Nesbit  came  as  brigade  major,  and 


216  AYETTE  [Chap.  XV 

Acland  Hood  as  staff  captain.  There  were  other 
"learners"  who  came  and  went— Gregory,  Simmonds 
and  Buchanan,  afterwards  brigade  major. 

The  battalion  did  not  stay  very  long  at  Fosseux.  On 
April  24th  it  marched  to  Berles  au  Bois,  and  on  the  25th 
relieved  the  15th  Battalion  Lancashire  Fusiliers  in  the 
line  between  Ayette  and  Ablainzevelle.  Details,  under 
Luxmoore  Ball,  moved  via  Barly  to  Warlincourt. 

We  have  not  said  much  about  "  Details,"  which  now 
began  to  assume  an  important  position.  When  the 
battalion  first  arrived  in  France  details  were  the 
"  Drums  "  and  "  Shops."  Sergt.-Major  Bland  and  all 
the  company  sergeant-majors  took  part  in  the  battle  of 
Loos,  and  afterwards  always  went  into  the  line ;  the 
transport,  the  quartermaster  and  his  staff,  which,  when 
the  battalion  was  in  the  line,  included  the  company  quar- 
termaster-sergeants, the  drums,  the  master  tailor,  the 
master  shoemaker,  each  with  his  staff',  and  generally  the 
pioneer  sergeant  with  part  of  his  men,  remained  at  the 
transport  lines.  A  few  officers  were  also  left  out  of  the 
battle  of  Loos. 

At  the  battle  of  the  Somme  instructions  were  given 
to  Commanding  Officers,  but  the  actual  numbers  to  be 
left  out  of  the  battle  were  at  their  discretion.  Lieut. - 
Col.  Murray  Threipland  on  this  occasion  added  to  the 
officers  he  had  selected  the  sergeant-major,  all  the  com- 
pany sergeant-majors,  and  a  selected  number  of  N.C.O.'s. 
It  was  not  a  large  party. 

Definite  orders  were  given  at  the  third  battle  of  Ypres, 
when  it  was  laid  down  that  the  minimum  to  be  left  out 
of  the  engagement  was  : 

From  Battalion  H.Q. — Either  the  Commanding  Officer 
or  the  second  in  command. 

From  companies. — Either  the  Company  Commander 
or  the  second  in  command.  Not  more  than  two  Com- 
pany Commanders  to  go  in  with  their  companies. 

Not  more  than  twenty  officers,  excluding  the  medical 
officer,  to  go  in  with  the  battalion. 

N.C.O.'s.  and  riflemen. — Each  company  would  leave 
out  one  sergeant,  one  corporal,  and  one  lance-corporal. 

April  1918]  DETAILS  217 

Each  platoon  would  leave  three  privates.  In  addition 
33  per  cent,  of  Lewis  gunners,  scouts,  snipers,  signallers 
and  runners  were  left. 

The  sergeant-major  and  all  company  sergeant-majors 
were  also  left  out. 

These  arrangements  were  made  for  and  applied  to 
battle  formations.  For  the  ordinary  tour  of  duty  in  the 
line  the  battalion  carried  on  as  before,  taking  the  sergeant- 
major  or  drill-sergeant  and  company  sergeant-majors. 

In  a  series  of  excellent  pamphlets  on  the  training  of 
platoons  it  was  further  laid  down  that  the  minimum 
strength  of  that  unit  was  twenty- eight,  exclusive  of 
Platoon  H.Q.  As  battalions  began  to  feel  the  strain  of 
war,  and  reinforcements  became  less  in  number,  this 
figure  of  twenty-eight  became  a  vital  one,  and  company 
commanders  were  ordered  to  reduce  their  platoons  to 
that  number. 

E eduction  in  the  course  of  ordinary  duty  in  the  line 
was  started  at  Arras,  although  it  was  not  always  strictly 
carried  out,  and  Company  Headquarters  would  not  bear 
too  close  an  inspection  (the  period  in  the  line  at  Ypres 
1917  must  be  considered  as  part  of  the  battle).  A  sort 
of  rough  rule  was  established  that  so  long  as  sections 
were  composed  of  an  N.C.O.  and  six  men  an  extra  man 
or  two  on  headquarters  did  not  matter. 

At  first  Company  Commanders  followed  the  mistaken 
but  very  natural  policy  of  leaving  out  the  sickly  and 
least  competent  of  their  men.  But  after  the  German 
offensive  the  tour  of  duty  in  the  line  became  a  matter 
of  six  weeks,  and  they  soon  found  it  better  to  give  their 
men  a  rest  when  they  could.  Every  week  there  was  an 
exchange  of  men  with  the  Details,  so  that  it  became  a 
matter  of  whose  turn  it  was  to  go  out  of  the  line.  When 
the  battalion  held  the  Ayette  Line  the  Details  were  at 
Warlincourt ;  when  on  the  Boyelles  front  at  Berles  au 

The  ridge  on  which  Blairville  stood  ran  in  a  general 
south-westerly  direction  through  Adinfer  Wood,  and  was 
defended  by  the  Purple  Line.  This  was  the  main  battle 
position.    The  Ayette  sector  was  on  the  right  of  the 

218  AYETTE  [Chap.  XV 

position.  The  outpost  line  was  on  the  road  Ayette — 
Ablainzevelle,  sweeping  round  the  village  of  Ayette  so 
as  to  include  some  five  hundred  yards  of  the  Ayette — 
Ablainzevelle  Road. 

The  brigade  held  this  front  with  two  battalions  in  the 
outpost  line  and  one  in  the  Purple  system.  This  arrange- 
ment gave  each  battalion  four  days  in  the  Outpost  Line 
and  two  in  the  Purple  Line.  When  in  the  latter  position 
companies  were  able  to  march  to  Monchy  and  get  shower 
baths  and  clean  clothing,  but  the  change  of  clothing  was 
still  at  the  rate  of  once  a  fortnight.  Of  other  comforts 
there  were  none,  and  officers  and  men  lived  in  the  dog- 
kennel  variety  of  shelter  made  of  tin  and  a  few  sandbags. 

There  were  frequent  warnings  of  impending  attack. 
The  warnings  were  received  with  equanimity  by  the 
•troops,  who  had  seen  the  massed  artillery  behind  Adinfer 
Wood,  and  could  also  look  over  the  top  of  their  trenches 
and  see  miles  of  enemy  country  which  oi^ered  little  pro- 
tection to  any  attacking  troops ;  Ablainzevelle,  well 
covered  with  trees,  and  standing  on  a  spur  which  shot 
out  from  the  ridge  the  British  were  holding,  was  the  only 
dangerous  spot.  But  catch-words  began  to  be  bandied 
about,  the  result  of  the  study  of  the  German  offensive. 
**  Infiltration  '"  was  the  word,  and  "  Hurricane  Fire  '' 
from  trench-mortars  was  to  set  it  loose.  We  are  happy 
to  note  that  the  Welsh  Guards  never  indulged  in  this 
kind  of  conversation,  which  seemed  to  admit  tacitly  the 
enemy  to  be  what  he  claimed,  a  superman.  The  Com- 
manding Officer,  who  looked  after  his  line  with  the  ut- 
most care,  said,  "  They  talk  to  me  about  infiltration  ! 
If  Fritz  comes  floating  down  these  valleys,  welcome  '  Der 
Tag ! '  "  And  the  battalion,  remembering  Gen.  Making's 
speech  before  Loos,  saw  that  this  was  no  new  method  of 
attack.  However,  metaphorically,  they  dammed  the 
valleys  with  barbed  wire,  and  one  way  and  another  the 
defences  on  this  front  became  formidable. 

The  arrangement  in  the  outpost  area  was  two  com- 
panies in  the  front  line  of  posts,  one  in  support  and  one 
in  reserve. 

At  first  the  enemy  was  quiet  and  inclined  to  show 

May  1918]  ENEMY   TACTICS  219 

himself,  and  the  battalion  snipers  had  several  good  days 
before  he  learned  discretion.  And  then  he  disappeared 
so  completely  that  it  was  difficult  to  find  him  at  all. 
Every  night  patrols  tried  to  locate  posts  and  sometimes 
succeeded,  but  subsequent  patrols  would  frequently  re- 
port the  disappearance  of  ^ch  posts.  Unfortunately 
2/Lieut.  C.  D.  Whitehouse,  with  eleven  men,  was  caught 
on  one  of  these  adventures,  while  trying  to  discover  the 
exact  nature  of  one  of  these  posts.  He  got  into  the 
place,  but  found  it  strongly  held  and  had  to  fight  to  get 
out.  Only  four  men  of  the  party  succeeded  in  getting 
back,  and,  though  other  patrols  worked  for  several  hours 
and  brought  in  five  wounded,  they  did  not  succeed  in 
finding  Whitehouse  and  two  men.  The  wounded  re- 
ported that  the  enemy  had  picked  up  some  bodies  and 
carried  them  aw^ay,  and  it  was  thought  that  Whitehouse 
had  been  killed  by  a  bomb. 

But  No.  4  Company  took  vengeance  on  a  party  of 
about  thirty  of  the  enemy  who  tried  to  raid  one  of  their 
posts  after  a  preliminary  bombardment. 

A  further  loss  during  the  month  of  May  was  Howard, 
a  promising  young  officer,  who  was  approaching  the 
position  of  Company  Commander. 

On  June  6th  the  battalion  was  relieved  by  the  1st 
Battalion  K.E.R.  and  proceeded  to  Barly.  The  officers 
of  the  battalion  were  now  : 

Commanding  Officer    Humphrey  Dene. 

Second  in  Command    Luxmoore  Ball. 

Adjutant         .  .     Devas. 

Assistant  Adjutant.     Jack  Crawshay. 

Quartermaster  .     Dabell. 

Transport  Officer    .     Bonsor. 

Prince  of  Wales's  Arthur  Gibbs,  Upjohn,  J.  Ellis,  HUl,  Spence  Thomas, 
Company    .  .         Harrop,  Hawksley. 

No.  2  Company  .  Bonn,  Brian  Gibbs,  Tatham,  Stanier,  DUberoglue, 

No.  3  Company  .  R.  Lewis,  L.  F.  Ellis,  Gloag,  Trotter,  Courtney,  J.  A. 
Da  vies. 

No.  4  Company  .  Dudley  Ward,  Goetz,  Mathew,  B.  Davies,  Holds- 
worth,  Watson,  Brawn. 

Romer  Williams  and  Keith  Menzies  were  with  the 
French  Army  as  liaison  officers ;   Marshall  Roberts  had 

220  BARLY  [Chap.  XV 

gone  home  sick.  It  is,  however,  almost  impossible  to 
place  officers  other  than  Company  Commanders,  as, 
although  casualties  were  not  heavy,  army  schools  still 
arranged  courses  to  which  officers  had  to  be  sent,  and 
there  was  special  employment  of  all  sorts,  so  that  there 
was  a  continual  reposting  of  officers. 

Excellent  weather  prevailed  while  the  battalion  was 
at  Barly,  and  quite  a  lot  of  useful  training  was  carried 
out  at  a  300-yard  range  and  field  work.  The  Command- 
ing Officer  was  especially  keen  on  working  up  rapid  fire, 
and  that  a  spirit  of  optimism  reigned  with  the  Higher 
Command  was  shown  by  the  field  training,  which  con- 
sisted entirely  of  attack  and  pursuit,  and  the  rein- 
troduction  of  the  old  diamond  formation  when  under 
artillery  fire  or  for  the  "  Approach  March." 

The  Brigadier  took  a  lot  of  trouble  over  field  training, 
and  worked  out  a  company  scheme  which  included  all 
the  latest  ideas  of  *'  dribbling "  men  into  positions. 
There  were  "  two  company  schemes  "  and  "  battalion 
schemes,'"  and  a  lot  of  discussion  over  outposts  to 
villages.  In  all  this  practice  the  brigadier  used  to 
wander  about,  quiet,  helpful,  and  encouraging,  and  the 
youngest  and  most  nervous  of  officers  soon  found  that 
his  somewhat  taciturn  appearance  was  in  no  way  re- 
flected in  his  character. 

The  battalion  was  quartered  in  and  around  the  chateau 
grounds — most  of  the  men  in  tents  under  the  trees  in 
the  park  ;  the  younger  officers  also  in  tents,  while  Com- 
pany Commanders  had  rooms  in  the  chateau.  There 
were  double  company  messes,  as  no  room  big  enough  for 
a  battalion  mess  could  be  found,  and  the  headquarters 
mess  shared  the  ground-floor  of  the  chateau  with  the 

The  Division  H.Q.  were  at  Saulty,  and  on  June  22nd 
a  horse-show  was  held  there,  at  which  the  battalion  took 
first  prize  in  officers'  heavy-weight  and  light-weight 
chargers,  second  prize  in  officers'  chargers  jumping  com- 
petition, and  third  prize  for  heavy  draught-horses,  which 
had  been  with  the  division  since  formation. 

Brigade  sports  were  held  at  Barly  with  some  amusing 

June  1918]  MULE   RACES  221 

events.  In  the  bare-backed  mule-race  the  battalion 
thought  it  had  a  certainty.  The  Commanding  Officer 
rode  a  fast  beast  provided  it  would  make  up  its  mind  to 
start,  and  Jack  Crawshay  rode  its  stable  companion  with 
instructions  to  sit  still  on  its  back  and  it  would  follow 
its  "  friend  "  !  Once  they  were  started  everyone  felt  all 
would  be  well.  But  no  one  ever  understood  a  mule. 
They  started  all  right,  the  Commanding  Officer  well 
ahead,  and  Crawshay  a  good  second,  while  the  rest  were 
nowhere — most  of  the  riders  were  on  the  ground.  Un- 
fortunately Simmonds  (a  Grenadier  "  learner  "  on  the 
brigade  staff)  kept  his  seat  and  pounded  along  in  a  zigzag 
course  200  yards  behind  the  leading  two.  Then,  as  the 
Commanding  Officer  swept  round  the  turn  into  the 
straight,  the  Welsh  Guards  transport  men,  gathered 
together  in  a  bunch,  yelled  and  cheered.  Round  whipped 
the  mule  of!  the  course,  gallumphing  in  queer  shapes  in 
any  direction  but  the  winning-post ;  and  Crawshay 's 
beast  followed  it.  Simmonds  zig-zagged  along,  every 
tack  bringing  him  nearer  the  post.  Everybody  shouted, 
which  made  matters  worse ;  but  the  transport  had  seen 
their  mistake,  and  some  of  the  men  ran  round  the  mules 
waving  their  arms,  and  headed  the  animals  back  on  to 
the  course,  but  Simmonds  won  by  a  head. 

The  race  between  transport  officers  was  won  by  Bob 
Bonsor,  who,  blind  as  a  bat  and  no  rider,  mounted  the 
same  mule  as  the  Commanding  Officer  had  ridden^by 
this  time  most  of  the  nonsense  had  been  whacked  out  of 
it — and  bumped  solidly  round  the  course,  while  the  fresher 
animals  of  the  Grenadier  and  Scots  Guards  Battalions 
unseated  their  riders  at  every  hundred  yards  or  so. 

There  was  also  a  blindfold  drill  competition  won  by 
the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company. 

The  battalion  easily  scored  the  highest  number  of 
points  in  the  meeting. 

Four  days  later,  on  June  30th,  the  Duke  of  Con- 
naught  visited  the  division  and  witnessed  a  comic  foot- 
ball match,  twenty-five  a  side  and  four  balls,  between 
the  Welsh  Guards  and  the  1st  Battalion  Grenadier 
Guards,  and  the  latter  had  their  revenge. 

222  BARLY  [Chap.  XV 

We  have  mentioned  field  practice,  rifle  practice  and 
sport,  but  the  drill  of  the  battalion  was  not  forgotten. 
Sergt.-Major  Bland  had  been  relieved  by  Sergt.-Major 
Stevenson  in  May.  Bland  had  done  a  lot  of  exceedingly 
good  work  with  the  battalion.  He  was  popular  with 
officers  and  men.  Although  the  only  two  battles  he  had 
been  allowed  to  take  part  in  were  Loos  and  Gouzeaucourt, 
he  had  been  in  the  line  continually  for  two  years.  No 
one  was  more  sorry  than  himself  at  the  order  to  return 
to  England,  but  it  was,  on  the  other  hand,  rather  hard 
on  Sergt.-Major  Stevenson  to  be  kept  indefinitely  with 
the  Reserve  Battalion. 

Stevenson  had  been  badly  wounded  earlier  in  the  war 
while  serving  with  the  Scots  Guards,  the  joint  of  his  knee 
being  damaged,  and  active  service  was  out  of  the  ques- 
tion for  him  when  the  battalion  left  England.  He  had, 
however,  been  fit  for  some  time,  and  Bland  had  had  a 
long  and  successful  career,  and  so  the  change  was  effected. 

One  does  not  compare  such  men  :  the  services  of  both 
were  of  inestimable  value  to  the  regiment. 

One  other  amusing  incident  occurred  during  this  rest 
at  Barly — Capt.  Smart,  of  the  2nd  Canadian  Division, 
gave  a  series  of  clever  demonstrations  in  patrolling  and 
stealth  raids.  The  major-general,  all  the  brigadiers  and 
commanding  officers  assembled  to  witness  one  of  these 
demonstrations.  The  Canadian  party  were  to  start 
about  three  hundred  yards  away  and  creep  as  close  as 
they  could  to  the  audience.  The  patrol  was  seen  stand- 
ing in  the  distance,  and  when  Smart  blew  a  whistle  they 
all  lay  down  and  disappeared  in  the  long  grass. 

From  time  to  time  Smart  asked  if  any  could  be  seen  ; 
but,  although  officers  consulted  in  whispers  with  each 
other,  no  one  committed  himself  except,  for  some  un- 
known reason,  Lord  Gort.  "  Yes,"  said  he,  "  I  can  see 
two  .  .  .  three."  Of  course  every  one  gathered  around 
Gort  and  asked  to  be  shown.  He  pointed  to  patches  of 
grass  in  the  middle  of  the  field.  "  They  are  going,"  said 
he,  "  at  a  tremendous  pace."  A  chorus  of  "  Yes,  yes — I 
see,"  broke  out.  Gusts  of  wind  were  moving  the  long 
grass  in  many  directions,  but  nothing  like  a  crawling 

July  1918]  BOYELLES  223 

man.  The  most  any  patrol  could  hope  to  do  was  to  get 
within  a  hundred  yards  of  the  audience,  as  the  grass 
became  very  thin,  and  there  was  nothing  in  the  nature 
of  a  ditch  on  the  straight  line  of  advance  they  could  get 
into.  Suddenly  Smart  said  :  "  There  are  four  men 
within  ten  yards  of  you  !  "  And  there  were.  The  men 
had  made  a  wdde  detour  behind  a  bank,  got  well  behind 
the  party  of  watchers,  and  approached  them  along  the 
side  of  a  hedge  to  which  they  had  all  turned  their  backs. 
Smart  then  blew  a  whistle,  and  the  rest  of  the  patrol 
stood  up — they  had  advanced  about  thirty  yards  in  as 
many  minutes.  After  explaining  how  the  four  men  had 
worked  round.  Smart  proceeded  dryly  to  say  that  any 
advance  across  the  flat  ground  which  was  being  watched 
could  only  be  done  very  slowly,  and  in  this  case  it  would 
probably  take  several  hours  to  reach  the  possible  limit. 
Everyone  who  thought  he  had  discovered  something  and 
not  said  so  then  felt  very  pleased. 

On  July  6th  the  battalion  relieved  the  15th  Lancashire 
Fusiliers  in  the  left  sector  opposite  Boyelles.  The  line 
held  on  this  occasion  was  practically  the  same  as  before, 
the  one  alteration  being  that  nothing  was  held  north 
the  road  Boisleux  St.  Marc — Boiry  Becquerelle.  The 
front  trench  had  been  deepened  and  posts  connected  up 
so  that  a  tour  of  the  line  could  be  made  in  daylight. 
Otherwise  there  was  not  much  change. 

In  the  method  of  holding  the  sector  there  had  been 
several  changes.  The  brigade  now  held  a  one-battalion 
front,  with  one  battalion  in  support  on  Hill  115,  the  spur 
which  ran  out  from  the  main  ridge  (about  SI),  and  one 
battalion  in  reserve  in  trenches  south  of  Blairville. 

The  system  of  holding  the  outpost  line  was  slightly 
altered  several  times,  but  broadly  speaking  it  was  two 
companies  in  the  front  line,  one  in  support  and  one  in 
reserve.  In  the  event  of  attack  there  were  secret  orders 
that  the  front  two  companies  should,  if  possible,  fall  back 
on  a  line  at  the  foot  of  Hill  115.  The  support  company 
would  be  left  in  advance  of  this  line,  but  they  had  a 
strong  position,  and  the  artillery  arrangements  gave 
them  good  protection.     It  was  a  daring  plan,  and  de- 

224  BLAIRVILLE  [Chap.  XV 

pended  for  success  on  getting  early  knowledge  of  the 
enemy  attack. 

Meanwhile  most  active  patrolling  was  carried  on,  but 
the  enemy  was  never  caught  out  of  his  defended  lines. 

While  in  this  sector  the  battalion  was  drawn  much 
closer  to  the  artillery  than  ever  before.  Up  to  that  time, 
but  for  a  few  exceptions,  the  artillery  officers  were  only 
known  to  Battalion  H.Q.  and  not  to  the  Company  Offi- 
cers. Under  Lieut.-Col.  Murray  Threipland  the  battalion 
mess  had  kept  all  officers  in  close  touch  with  headquar- 
ters, so  that  they  occasionally  saw  visitors,  but,  owing 
to  force  of  circumstances,  the  battalion  mess  had  gradu- 
ally disappeared,  and  was  quite  impossible  under  the 
fighting  scheme  of  this  date.  But  Humphrey  Dene  and 
Charles  Vickery,  who  commanded  the  74th  Artillery 
Brigade,  were  both  men  who  loved  society.  Conse- 
quently the  headquarter  mess  became  a  place  where 
Company  Officers  dropped  in  to  tea  and  dinner,  and 
there  they  frequently  met  Col.  Vickery  and  some  of  his 
officers,  and  were  invited  by  them  to  their  messes.  This 
was  made  the  more  possible  by  the  fact  that  all  were 
gathered  together  in  a  small  area  at  Blairville. 

Great  efforts  had  been  made  in  these  trenches  to 
construct  habitable  sandbag  cabins.  The  mess  in  both 
reserve  and  support  headquarters  was  quite  good — trans- 
planted to  an  English  garden  either  w^ould  be  considered 
a  quaint  tool-shed.  But  many  an  amusing  yarn  was 
told  after  dinner  in  these  places.  Col.  Vickery  having  a 
stock  from  Egypt  and  the  East  which  were  hard 
to  cap. 

At  this  time  polo  was  played  practically  in  sight  of  the 
enemy.  On  a  clear  day  one  could  see  the  hill  of  Monchy 
from  the  polo-ground,  and  maybe  the  German  artillery 
observer,  when  he  turned  his  telescope  that  way,  some- 
times wondered  what  was  happening.  Col.  Vickery  was 
responsible  for  the  ground,  and  the  Commanding  Officer 
and  Keith  Menzies  w^ere  the  chief  players  from  the  bat- 
talion— the  brigadier  played  also. 

The  work  was  strenuous,  but  the  fighting  uneventful. 
Several  times  the  brigadier  complimented  the  battalion 

July  1918]  WARRANT   OFFICERS  225 

on  patrol  work  and  digging  and  wiring.  But  the  enemy 
was  hardly  ever  seen,  and  confined  his  aggressive  efforts 
to  shelling  trench  systems  and  roads.  Casualties  were 
steady,  a  continual  loss,  although  never  very  great  at 
any  one  time.     The  most  severe  loss  was  C.S.M.  Orton. 

Orton  was  a  smart  and  most  capable  warrant  officer. 
He  had  exceptional  organising  ability,  and  whatever  he 
took  in  hand  was  done  swiftly,  quietly  and  well.  He 
had  been  company  sergeant-major  to  No.  4  Company 
until  the  end  of  1916,  when  he  was  transferred  to  a  base 
depot  to  train  Canadian  troops.  He  was  away  for  some 
months,  and  when  he  returned  was  posted  to  the  Prince 
of  Wales's  Company,  much  to  Arthur  Gibbs's  satisfaction. 
No  man  ever  deserved  the  meritorious  medal  more  than 
he  did.     He  was  an  excellent  soldier. 

The  battalion  had  cause  to  be  thankful  it  had  not  lost 
more  of  its  warrant  officers.  C.S.M.  Orton  was  by  no 
means  the  first  to  be  hit.  Drill-Sergt.  Woodhouse  was 
hit  at  Vermelles,  Drill  Sergt.  Harris  at  Ypres  in  the  St. 
Jean  sector — he  came  out  again,  was  given  a  commission 
and  left  the  battalion  at  Serques — and  before  many 
weeks  Drill-Sergt.  Roberts  was  to  be  hit.  C.S.M.  Pearce 
was  a  reckless  man,  and  had  some  very  narrow  escapes, 
especially  at  Arras  when  he  pursued  an  enemy  patrol, 
was  seen  by  an  enemy  machine  gunner,  and  got  a  bullet 
through  his  steel  helmet.  Beardsmore  was  another  stout 
fighter,  and  Jenkins  and  Coyne  loved  to  engage  in  rifle 
grenade  and  sniping  duels.  C.S.M.  Cossey  was  twice  hit. 
Considering  the  length  of  time  they  had  been  in  the 
front  line,  and  the  severity  of  the  weather,  changes  had 
been  remarkably  few. 

C.Q.M.S.  Hunter  had  acted  as  company  sergeant-major 
for  the  Prince  of  W^ales's  Company  until  Roberts  arrived 
at  Laventie.  Pearce  had  been  with  No.  2  Company  all 
through ;  Cossey,  of  No.  3  Company,  was  hit  at  Loos, 
and  his  place  taken  by  Beardsmore,  who  received  a  com- 
mission while  at  Arras,  and  was  succeeded  by  Coyne, 
until  then  company  quartermaster  sergeant  of  No.  3 
(Coyne  had  followed  C.Q.M.S.  Henton,  No.  3  Company, 
who  died  of  sickness)  ;   No.  4  had  Jenkins  after  a  short 

226  WARRANT   OFFICERS  [Chap.  XV 

period  of  Wadeson,  who  had  taken  over  from  Orton  when 
he  went  to  the  base. 

Promotions  had  been  few.  Sergt.-Major  Bland  had 
been  promoted  to  that  position  when  Barnes  left.  Harris 
then  came  out  in  December  1916  as  drill-sergeant. 
Roberts  received  a  definite  appointment  as  drill-sergeant 
at  the  end  of  1916,  Harris  having  been  wounded,  and 
Dunkley,  who  had  joined  the  battalion  at  Ypres,  having 
gone  home  sick.  The  vacancy  in  the  Prince  of  Wales's 
Company  caused  by  Roberts's  appointment  was  filled 
first  by  Cossey  for  a  very  short  time,  and  then  by  Sergt. 
Nicholson,  who  acted  as  sergeant-major  for  several 
months  with  great  success,  when  he  received  a  commis- 
sion and  Orton  was  called  back  from  the  base.  Young 
was  company  quartermaster-sergeant  of  the  Prince  of 
Wales's  Company,  but  had  to  go  home  on  account  of 
deafness,  and,  after  several  sergeants  had  held  an  acting 
appointment,  Sergt.  Hyam  received  the  promotion. 

C.S.M.  Moseley  was  sent  out  from  home  to  fill  poor 
Orton's  place.  Freestone  joined  the  battalion  as  drill- 
sergeant  in  the  spring  of  1918. 



In  trench  warfare,  and  indeed  in  all  warfare,  any  rain  of 
greater  proportions  than  a  shower  causes  extra  discom- 
fort, and  perhaps  assumes  more  importance  than  it 
should — one  remembers  the  mud,  the  days  and  nights 
in  wet  clothes,  the  trickle  of  water  down  the  neck  while 
peering  over  the  parapet,  the  futile  attempt  to  smoke  a 
sodden  cigarette,  the  state  of  the  bread  brought  in  by 
the  ration  parties,  and  the  falls  in  the  slime.  Generally 
the  summer  was  good,  and,  although  the  battalion  spent 
long  weeks  in  the  trenches,  their  spirits  were  in  no  way 
affected.  Except  for  the  prevalence  of  boils,  the  health 
of  the  men  was  excellent. 

Sergt.  Manuel,  of  Xo.  4  Company,  was  out  of  the  line 
with  boils  for  some  considerable  time.  He  was  a  very 
gallant  and  cheerful  fighter.  Sergt.  Trott  had  been  in 
the  line  for  six  weeks  on  end,  during  which  he  had  not 
seen  Manuel.  When  the  battalion  went  out  to  rest 
these  two  worthies  met.  "  I  have  got  something  inter- 
esting to  show  you,"  said  Trott,  and  produced  an  ordi- 
nary round  of  ammunition  which  he  held  up  in  front  of 
Manuel's  nose.  "  This,''  he  explained,  "  is  what  we  use 
in  the  line  to  kill  Germans — we  call  it  a  '  round.'  Want 
to  keep  it  as  a  souvenir." 

Looking  back  at  the  humdrum,  matter-of-fact  manner 
in  which  duties  were  performed,  the  days  when  there 
seemed  nothing  more  to  do  but  lie  in  the  sun,  and  the 
only  grumble  was  when  enemy  shells  shifted  you  from 
one  spot  to  another,  the  cheery  evenings  with  the  Com- 


228  BLAIRVILLE  [Chap.  XVI 

manding  Officer,  Luxmoore  Ball,  Walter  Bonn,  L.  F. 
Ellis,  Geoffrey  Devas,  Upjohn,  Toby  Mathew,  Ben 
Davies,  Baton  and  tlie  "  Boys,"  with  visits  from  Vickery, 
Rymer  Jones,  and  the  rest  of  the  merry  crew  of  the  74th 
Brigade— and  recalling  the  conversations  on  possible 
German  attacks,  with  the  inevitable  remark  from  some- 
one that  "  I  don't  believe  there  are  any  Huns  opposite 
us  at  all,''  and  the  Commanding  Officer's  "  I  want  to 
have  a  cut  at  Fritz.  .  .  .  Are  we  asleep  ?  Are  we 
wooden  men  to  be  stuck  in  these  holes  for  Fritz  to  have 
cock-shies  at  us  ?  " — it  seems  curious  that  no  whisper 
of  possible  future  events  reached  the  ears  of  the  battalion. 
And  yet  the  possibility  was  indicated. 

The  enemy  efibrts  on  the  Somme  and  the  Lys  Valley 
had  secured  some  result  for  him  which  a  further  success 
might  turn  into  disaster  for  the  Allied  Forces.  A  gain 
of  mere  territory  does  not  mean  much  unless  it  includes 
centres  of  vital  importance.  The  two  great  enemy 
'*  drives  "  had  placed  the  Germans  within  striking  dis- 
tance of  much-used  and  valuable  railway  junctions  at 
Amiens,  Bethune,  and  Hazebrouck.  St.  Pol  was  within 
range  of  his  long  guns.  He  only  required  a  little  more 
and  British  communications  in  Northern  France  would 
be  disorganised. 

This  was  generally  known  and  understood  in  the 
battalion,  but  the  foreigner's  estimation  of  British  char- 
acter as  "  arrogant "  would  seem  to  be  right  in  this  one 
respect,  that  the  feeling  of  the  British  Army  was  not 
one  of  dismay,  but  rather  of  assurance  that  "  if  the 
damned  railway  is  cut  we  will  push  up  the  stuff  in  hand- 
carts." Despondency  was  absolutely  unknown,  and 
throughout  the  British  Army  repeated  attacks  strength- 
ened the  obstinate  determination  of  all  ranks  to  perse- 
vere. The  Commanding  Officer,  arriving  in  the  front 
line,  having  passed  through  severe  shelling,  was  typical 
in  his  remarks.  *'|What  is  this  fool  Fritz  doing  ?  What 
is  his  game  ?  Does  he  think  he  is  going  to  stop  me 
going  up  the  line.     What  ?  " 

But  while  we  emphasise  the  dull  and  unexciting  nature 
of  the  routine  of  duty,  the  pleasant  weather  and  company 

Aug.  1918]  AMERICAN  TROOPS  229 

in  the  vicinity  of  Blairville,  there  were  flashes  of  irritation 
caused  by  warnings  of  attack.  Sir  Douglas  Haig  indi- 
cates in  his  despatches  that  the  Higher  Command  was 
discussing  fresh  enemy  attacks  up  to  the  second  week  of 
July,  and  that  one  of  the  fronts  considered  to  be  threat- 
ened was  Arras— Amiens — Montdidier.  The  British 
general  staff  considered  that  the  enemy  would  first  attack 
farther  south,  and  their  judgment  proved  sound.  No 
doubt  what  came  down  through  the  Guards  Division 
were  precautionary  warnings. 

On  July  15th  the  enemy  launched  an  attack  south  of 
Reims  and  crossed  the  Marne.  On  the  18th  Marshal 
Foch  launched  his  counter-oHensive  from  Chateau 
Thierry  to  Soissons. 

American  troops  were  in  both  these  actions.  American 
troops  had  been  training  at  Warlincourt  and  the  areas 
behind  the  Guards  Division,  as  everyone  knew,  and  on 
July  23rd  American  troops — 15  officers  and  85  N.C.O.'s 
and  O.R.'s  from  the  80th  Division  U.S.A. — were  attached 
to  the  battalion  for  forty-eight  hours'  instruction  in 
trench  duties.  On  August  5th  the  battalion,  plus  six 
platoons  of  the  1st  Battalion  320th  American  Infantry 
Regiment,  relieved  the  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards 
in  the  front  line,  and  the  battalion  began  to  think  that 
the  future  might  bring  some  change  in  the  monotony. 

"  August  6th,  1918. — I  relieved  the  Grenadier  Company 
at  II  p.m.  yesterday,  but  the  Americans  under  me  did 
not  arrive  till  past  one,  and  the  line  did  not  settle  down 
till  past  three.  The  first  wink  of  sleep  I  have  had  since 
7  a.m.  yesterday  was  at  12  noon  to-day,  and  then  the 
staff,  having  slept  well  in  their  beds  all  night,  and  desiring 
employment  before  2  p.m.  lunch,  wakened  me !  How- 
ever, the  Americans  seem  good,  keen  men — they  are 
fresh  and  interested.  Toby  Mathew  is  with  me  and 
Brawn — both  good  companions.  The  trenches  are  very 
muddy,  but  the  weather  is  improving  after  last  night's 
showers.    There  are  rumours  of  leave  being  doubled.  .  .  . 

"  August  Sth. — More  Yankees  came  in  last  night  and 
the  old  lot  departed.     They  make  one  laugh,  they  are  so 

230  MIERICAN   TROOPS  [Chap.  XVI 

green,  but  they  are  so  devilisli  anxious  not  to  be  caught 
napping  they  are  positively  dangerous  to  anyone  going 
round  the  line—  every  sentry  you  visit  receives  you  with 
a  bayonet  in  your  face.  Some  of  them  went  out  on 
patrol  last  night,  and,  as  usual  with  novices,  thought 
they  saw  an  army  of  Huns  in  every  row  of  stakes.  I 
ordered  them  to  fire  on  everything  they  thought  sus- 
picious, and  the  result  was  a  ripple  of  shots  all  night. 
I  wonder  what  the  Huns  think  has  happened.  Broncho 
came  round  this  morning  with  the  American  major,  a 
southerner  called  Gordon.  He  was  a  long,  hard-looking 
fellow,  and  very  thirsty.  Without  saying  a  word  he  took 
hold  of  a  bottle  of  diluted  peroxide  I  used  to  clean  my 
teeth  and  had  a  long  drink.  *  Gee  !  '  he  said,  *  that  is 
the  strongest  water  I  have  had  for  some  time  !  '  I  hope 
it  won't  hurt  him. 

"  August  9th. — One  unfortunate  American  killed  by 
one  of  our  own  shells.  There  is  a  small  percentage  that 
drop  short  and  an  occasional  one  of  these  hits.  I  have 
straffed  like  the  deuce  about  it.  These  Americans  are  not 
bad.  They  are  very  keen,  willing  and  good-tempered. 
Everything  goes  wrong  with  them  in  the  process  of  learn- 
ing—they are  starved  for  food  or  water  and  suffer  infinite 
annoyances,  but  they  keep  up  their  spirits  well.  Last 
night  must  have  been  a  weird  experience  for  them.  It 
started  with  Brawn  going  out  on  patrol,  which  filled 
them  with  excitement,  and  then  worked  up  to  a  full 
*  harassing  shoot.'  The  air  was  full  of  shells — field-guns, 
medium,  and  heavies  up  to  12-inch,  coming  singly  or  in 
salvoes,  with  fierce,  long-drawn  wails  and  whistlings — and 
above  them  the  drone  of  aeroplanes.  The  sky  was  cut 
with  searchlight  rays,  and  then '  wumph,wumph,  wumph, 
wumph  !  '  as  each  plane  dropped  its  load  of  bombs. 
Noisy,  tiring  night. 

**  August  li)ih. — Yesterday  afternoon  we  amused  our- 
selves by  having  a  duel  with  the  Hun — it  is  quite  enter- 
taining, and  the  men  love  it.  The  Hun  starts  it  by  firing 
his  Minenwerf ers — which  are  numbered  as  far  as  we  know 
them — and  the  moment  anyone  sees  where  they  are 
coming  from  a  runner  dashes  down  to  me,  I  'phone  the 

Aug.  1918]       PREPARATION  FOR  ATTACK  231 

artillery,  giving  the  ]\Iinnie  number, and  also  send  runners 
in  all  directions  to  our  trench-mortars.  Yesterday  the 
Hun,  who  had  been  quiet  for  some  weeks,  suddenly  fired 
eight  rounds  and  wounded  an  American,  and  within  ten 
minutes  a  deluge  descended  on  him  till  the  air  was  thick 
with  dust.  The  Yanks  were  delighted,  but  the  funniest 
was  Brawn.  He  kept  on  breaking  from  stolid  contem- 
plation of  the  scene  with  a  '  By  God !  Ha,  ha,  ha  !  ' 
until  his  face  became  crimson — then  as  quickly  became 
stolid,  almost  bovine  again.  After  a  quarter  of  an  hour 
of  this  we  stopped  and  waited — so  did  the  Hun.  But 
after  two  hours  he  fired  again,  and  I  sent  the  word  '  re- 
peat,' and  every  one  duly  repeated.  Brawn  had  to  go 
to  a  court-martial,  and  Toby  and  I  conducted  the  relief, 
which  was  somewhat  messed  up  by  Walter  Bonn  for- 
getting, apparently,  that  we  had  Americans  with  us — it 
was  not  a  good  lesson  for  the  Yanks.  Poor  Toby  had  a 
hard  time,  and  we  arrived  in  our  new  quarters,  in  close 
support,  at  one,  and  sat  till  two  eating  marmalade — Toby 
chatting  in  a  clever,  boyish,  high-spirited  manner — when 
we  had  a  couple  of  hours'  sleep  and  went  out  for  '  stand 
to.'  Five  minutes  after  the  Hun  gave  us  a  burst  of 
hurricane  shelHng,  and  Toby  and  his  orderly  were  hit — I 
fear  both  badly.  They  were  very  cheerful,  and  kept  on 
asking  each  other  how  they  were.  ^lags,  the  orderly, 
with  a  bit  of  his  nose  off,  his  hand  smashed,  and  his  knee- 
cap torn  off,  observed  that  he  was  *  well  cam-u-fladged.'  " 
-^Diary,  C.  H.  D.  W. 

The  battalion  was  relieved  and  went  to  Saulty  on  the 
night  of  August  11th. 

On  July  23rd  Marshal  Foch  had  held  a  conference  at 
which  decisions  of  the  first  magnitude  were  arrived  at. 
The  opening  move  in  the  great  Allied  offensive  was  to 
free  the  railway  communications,  and  French,  American, 
and  British  armies  were  each  to  work  on  its  own  front 
with  that  object  in  view.  The  British  army  was  to  free 
the  Paris — Amiens  Railway  by  an  attack  on  the  Albert — 
Montdidier  front.  When  the  success  of  this  general 
attack  had  been  achieved  the  French  and  American 


232  BLAIRVILLE  [Chap.  XVI 

Armies  would  continue  the  advance,  converging  on 
Mezi^res,  while  the  British  armies  would  cut  the  com- 
munication running  through  Maubeuge  to  Hirson  and 
Mezi^res,  which  was  the  sole  line  of  supply  for  the  Ger- 
man armies  on  the  Champagne  front.  The  success  of 
the  British  army  in  this  direction  would  also  be  an 
immediate  threat  to  the  German  armies  in  Flanders. 

This  was  a  battle  planned  on  a  grand  scale,  and  know- 
ing what  were  at  least  the  published  limits  of  previous 
efforts,  one  cannot  but  admire  the  confidence  of  the 
Marshal  in  issuing  such  orders. 

For  the  battle  of  Amiens  Marshal  Foch  placed  the 
First  French  Army,  commanded  by  Gen.  Debeny,  under 
Sir  Douglas  Haig.  The  British  Fourth  Army,  under 
Rawlinson,  was  to  open  the  attack.  The  Fourth  Army 
was  composed  of  the  Canadian  Corps  on  the  right,  with 
the  3rd,  1st,  and  2nd  Canadian  Divisions  in  line,  and  the 
4th  Canadian  Division  in  support ;  the  Australian  Corps, 
with  the  2nd  and  3rd  Australian  Divisions  in  line,  and 
the  5th  and  4th  Australian  Divisions  in  support ;  the 
III  Corps,  with  the  58th  and  18th  Divisions  in  line  and 
the  12th  Division  in  support.  The  First  French  Army 
attacked  an  hour  after  the  British  assault  had  been 

The  battle  opened  at  4.20  a.m.  on  August  8th,  and  on 
the  first  day  the  Fourth  Army  had  advanced  about  seven 
miles,  and  had  captured  13,000  prisoners  and  between 
300  and  400  guns,  and  by  August  12th  it  had  reached 
the  old  German  line  of  1916,  a  total  advance  of  twelve 
miles,  with  a  total  capture  of  22,000  prisoners  and  over 
400  guns. 

The  French  and  Americans  to  the  south  had  kept  pace 
with  the  British  advance,  and  the  elastic  nature  of  the 
Allied  Forces  is  shown  in  this  battle  when  it  is  noted  that 
a  regiment  of  the  33rd  American  Division  joined  the 
Fourth  Army,  and,  on  the  13th,  the  First  French  Army 
ceased  to  be  under  Sir  Douglas  Haig. 

The  railways  were  free.  There  was  still  the  Lys  salient, 
but  the  general  advance  south  had  forced  the  enemy  to 
alter  his  plans  in  the  north,  and  already  on  the  night 

Aug.  1918]       PREPARATION   FOR   ATTACK  233 

August  13/14th  Britisli  patrols  were  pushing  forward  in 
that  salient,  and  on  the  18th  and  19th  the  Second  Army 
under  Plunier  advanced,  capturing  900  prisoners  and 
threatening  disaster  to  the  enemy. 

On  the  15th  the  Welsh  Guards  moved  to  the  reserve 
area  at  Blairville,  and  on  the  18th  relieved  the  1st  Bat- 
talion 320th  Regiment  U.S.A. — who  were  in  support  on 
the  right  of  the  former  positions  occupied  in  the  Purple 
Line  and  behind  the  1st  Battalion  Irish  Guards — and  so 
for  the  moment  came  under  the  command  of  the  1st 
Brigade.  On  the  20th  the  battalion  relieved  the  2nd 
Battalion  Scots  Guards  in  the  original  support  line,  and 
on  the  21st  was  relieved  by  the  16th  Battalion  Northum- 
berland Fusiliers  and  moved  back  to  some  trenches  to 
the  east  of  Ransart  and  close  to  Adinfer  Wood. 

Opposition  to  the  Fourth  Army  had  stiffened.  The 
moral  of  the  German  infantry  had  been  rudely  shaken, 
but  the  picked  men  of  their  machine-gun  units  found  in 
the  devastated  area  of  the  old  Somme  battle-field  ideal 
ground  for  their  arms  and  tactics.  For  miles  the  ground 
had  been  pounded  into  odd  shapes  and  trenches  crossed 
and  recrossed  in  a  bewildering  fashion ;  the  whole  was 
covered  with  a  thick  tangle  of  weeds  effectively  conceal- 
ing shell-holes,  trenches  and  remnants  of  wire.  Though 
the  advance  slowed  down  pressure  was  not  relaxed. 

The  time  had  come  for  the  Third  Army  to  move,  not 
only  on  account  of  the  resistance  opposite  the  Fourth 
Army,  but  in  order  to  take  full  advantage  of  ground 
which  had  been  denied  Sir  Douglas  Haig  in  the  first 
battle  of  the  Somme.  The  ridge  which  we  have  men- 
tioned, and  which  was  defended  by  the  Purple  Line,  was 
held  in  1916  by  the  enemy  ;  a  successful  attack  between 
Albert  and  Arras  would  turn  the  old  Somme  positions 
now  in  front  of  the  Fourth  Army.  So  on  August  21st 
the  IV  and  VI  Corps  attacked  from  Miraumont  to  Moyen- 
ville.  The  line  ran  :  42nd,  New  Zealand,  37th,  2nd  and 
Guards  Divisions. 

The  attack  pivoted  on  the  Guards  Division,  conse- 
quently the  advance  of  the  division  on  this  day  was  not 
very  deep,  but  it  rendered  any  further  action  on  the  part 

234  THE  ATTACK  [Chap.  XVI 

of  the  division  the  more  difficult,  as  surprise  was  then  out 
of  the  question.  It  must,  however,  be  borne  in  mind 
that  any  movement  of  troops  and  guns  to  oppose  one 
corps  might  materially  help  another  corps,  and  that  the 
general  advance  on  the  St.  Quentin — Cambrai  line  was 
to  be  spread  far  to  the  left  of  the  division,  where  difficult 
tasks  awaited  the  Canadian  Corps  and  the  XVII  Corps 
on  August  25th  ;  so  that  part  of  the  duty  of  the  Guards 
Division  was  to  pin  down  troops  and  guns. 

On  the  23rd  the  2nd  Guards  Brigade  and  the  1st 
Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  attacked  from  the  line 
Gomiecourt — Hamelincourt  and  advanced  some  4,000 
yards  to  a  line  west  of  St.  Leger,  and  in  the  evening  the 
battalion  relieved  the  1st  Battalion  Coldstream  and  two 
companies  of  the  1st  Battalion  Scots  Guards  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  Judas  Farm. 

At  one  o'clock  in  the  morning  of  the  24th  the  Com- 
manding Officer  received  orders  to  attack  at  7  a.m.  in 
the  direction  of  Ecoust,  with  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots 
Guards  on  the  right  and  troops  of  the  56th  Division  on 
the  left.  St.  Leger  would  not  be  entered  but  enveloped, 
the  Welsh  Guards  passing  to  the  north  and  the  Scots 
Guards  to  the  south. ^ 

Orders  were  issued  to  companies  at  3.15  a.m.,  No.  3 
Company  (L.  F.  Ellis)  to  lead  the  attack,  followed  by 
Nos.  4  (Goetz),  Prince  of  Wales's  (Upjohn),  and  No.  2 
(Bonn)  Companies  at  300  yards'  interval,  and  each  in 
artillery  formation. 

At  that  time  Battalion  H.Q.  were  fixed  as  to  area  by 
the  brigade,  and  on  this  occasion  were  a  long  way  from 
the  front  line ;  the  companies,  too,  were  very  scattered. 
The  moment  he  had  got  his  orders  out  the  Commanding 
Officer  went  round  all  companies  to  give  final  advice 
and  see  that  all  was  ready,  for  the  time  was  short. 
Unfortunately,  while  doing  so  he  was  wounded. 

He  had  a  fine  record  with  the  battalion.  As  second 
in  command  he  had  taken  part  in  the  minor  operation  at 
Mortaldje,  had  commanded  the  battalion  on  September 
25th  and  subsequent  days  in  the  battle  of  the  Somme 

^  Appendix  B  11. 

Elliott  &  Fry,  London 


Aug.  1918]  LT.-COL.   H.   DENE  235 

of  1916,  and  frequently  in  the  line,  notably  in  those 
unpleasant  places  Gueudecourt  and  Sailly-Saillisel. 
Under  him  the  battalion  was  perhaps  more  aggressive 
than  it  had  ever  been,  for  he  was  a  fighter  with  an  im- 
petuous nature,  and  frequently  led  his  troops  in  person. 
His  handling  of  the  battalion  through  the  anxious  times 
of  March  and  April  was  admirable,  and  his  high  spirits 
permeated  all  troops  under  him.  He  had  magnetism, 
and  was  essentially  a  man  of  action.  To  get  work  done 
was  all  he  cared  about — the  reporting  of  it  bored  him. 
**  Went  to  position  ordered.  Held  it  till  relieved"  was 
all  he  had  to  say  of  September  26th,  1916.  "  Battalion 
in  line  "  is  a  frequent  entry  in  his  diary,  followed  still 
more  frequently  with  the  one  word  "  Ditto  "  on  subse- 
quent dates.  Occasionally  one  comes  across  a  hastily 
scrawled  "  Nothing  Doing.'*  Col.  Murray  Threipland  was 
the  best  diary  writer,  Col.  Dene  the  worst.  Col.  Douglas 
Gordon  was  colourless  and  not  too  illuminating,  but  he 
wrote  something.  Col.  Luxmoore  Ball  was  lucid,  and 
indulged  in  caustic  comments.  The  best  diary  is  always 
the  most  indiscreet. 

Luxmoore  Ball  was  in  charge  of  Details  at  Berles  au 
Bois,  and  command  fell  for  the  moment  to  Walter 

At  7  a.m.  the  artillery  opened  and  No.  3  Company,  led 
by  L.  F.  Ellis,  advanced  on  a  frontage  of  875  yards. 
They  came  under  fire  from  the  start — the  element  of  sur- 
prise had  passed,  and  the  enemy  had  put  in  the  line  two 
of  his  best  divisions  from  reserve.  Baton  led  No.  11 
Platoon  on  the  left  and  managed  to  get  round  and  sur- 
prise a  machine  gun  in  Bank  Copse  and  bayonet  the 
team.  Keeping  close  behind  the  barrage,  the  company 
entered  the  trench  Windmill  Lane  and  advanced  along 
the  railway,  where  captures  of  a  field-gun  and  prisoners 
were  made.  One  of  the  unavoidable  incidents  of  the 
advance  under  barrage  fire  now  occurred— the  men 
pushed  on  too  f;ist  and  were  caught  in  their  own  barrage. 
This  led  to  some  confusion,  but  Ellis  quickly  reorganised 
his  company  and  the  advance  was  continued. 

St;  Leger  was  passed,  the  outskirts  yielding  a  few  pris- 

236  ST.   LEGER  [Chap.  XVI 

oners,  but  there  was  again  a  check  from  machine  guns 
just  behind  the  town.  Ellis  rearranged  his  company  in 
line  of  sections  in  file,  and  in  this  formation  reached  the 
Leger  Reserve  Trench  with  few  casualties. 

The  Scots  Guards  could  now  be  seen  on  the  right  under 
heavy  machine-gun  fire.  No.  4  Company  had  come  up 
into  Leger  Reserve,  and  a  platoon  was  sent  to  help  clear 
the  ridge  on  the  right  against  which  the  Scots  Guards 
were  advancing.  This  platoon  found  the  enemy  inclined 
to  stand  along  the  railway  embankment,  and  a  hidden 
machine  gun  suddenly  opened  on  them  and  half  the 
party  were  hit.  The  situation  was  critical,  but  was 
saved  by  the  swift  action  of  a  Lewis  Gun  crew  which  got 
into  action  on  the  enemy  gun  and  enabled  the  rest  of  the 
platoon  to  get  under  cover.  Orders  were  then  received 
that  no  further  advance  would  be  made  that  day. 

Gloag,  who  commanded  No.  10  Platoon  on  the  right 
of  No.  3  Company,  gives  an  account  of  the  proceedings. 

"  We  entered  a  shallow  chalk-pit,  lined  with  dugouts 
on  its  east  bank,  and  were  in  full  view  of  the  village  of 
St.  Leger,  which  was  apparently  quite  deserted.  We 
could  see  nothing  of  the  2nd  Scots  Guards,  who  were 
supposed  to  be  on  our  immediate  right,  and  the  village 
itself  was  empty.  We  waited  in  the  chalk -pit  for  our 
barrage  to  move  ahead ;  there  was  no  enemy  shelling, 
only  a  few  shots  from  the  other  side  of  the  village.  The 
barrage  lifted,  and,  as  Paton  led  his  platoon  forward,  a 
shell  dropped  into  the  centre  of  it,  killing  two  men,  and 
wounding  several,  including  the  platoon  sergeant  (Jones). 
We  pushed  forward  to  the  road  running  due  north  from 
St.  Leger,  and  went  through  the  northern  part  of  the 
village,  but  had  to  halt  owing  to  intense  machine-gun 
fire  from  the  east.  Ellis  ordered  me  to  crawl  forward 
and  reconnoitre  a  trench  that  ran  parallel  with  the  road 
(from  north  to  south)  a  little  beyond  the  village.  I  did 
so  and  found  the  trench  too  shallow  to  afford  any  ade- 
quate cover,  and  it  was  badly  knocked  about  and  difficult 
to  approach.  Our  barrage  then  came  down  on  us  again, 
and  we  withdrew  to  the  road  for  about  fifteen  minutes. 

Aug.  1918]  ST.   LEGER  237 

Sergt.  Jones  was  badly  wounded  shortly  before  this 
temporary  withdrawal. 

"  When  the  barrage  lifted  we  went  forward  some  80 
yards  until  we  reached  a  line  of  trenches  called  St.  Leger 
Reserve.  That  was  our  objective,  but  there  were  no 
signs  of  the  Scots  Guards  on  our  right ;  Ellis  halted,  and 
instructed  me  to  take  out  a  fighting  patrol  along  the 
railway,  and  endeavour  to  work  round  to  the  rear  of  the 
machine  guns  that  were  very  active  south  of  the  railway 
embankment.  It  was  very  difficult  to  climb  over  the 
embankment  owing  to  the  fire,  and  my  intention  was  to 
have  followed  the  embankment  on  the  north  side  towards 
Croisilles,  and  cross  it  about  300  yards  from  the  St.  Leger 
Reserve  Line.  There  was  very  little  cover  on  my  left 
{i.e.  north  of  the  embankment),  and  I  had  gone  forward 
about  200  yards  when  a  machine  gun  that  had  hitherto 
been  silent  opened  fire,  wounding  several  men.  We  took 
cover  in  shell-holes,  and  one  of  my  Lewis  gunners  (Guards- 
man Spencer)  succeeded  in  spotting  the  position  of  the 
German  machine  gun.  We  opened  fire,  and  would  have 
continued,  but  save  for  the  shell-holes  we  were  in  there 
was  no  cover,  the  ground  sloping  evenly  from  the  German 
machine-gun  position  to  the  embankment.  It  was  ex- 
tremely difficult  to  withdraw  the  patrol,  but  the  two 
Lewis  gunners  gave  us  covering  fire,  retiring  as  they  fired. 
It  was  entirely  due  to  their  coolness  and  excellent  shoot- 
ing that  the  patrol  were  able  to  return  without  further 
casualties.  The  sergeant  who  accompanied  me  (Davis) 
behaved  with  the  greatest  gallantry,  and  carried  in  one 
of  the  wounded  under  fire. 

"  Prior  to  this  patrol  going  out,  I  had  been  a  short 
way  down  the  embankment  with  a  corporal  and  one  man, 
and  five  Germans  surrendered  to  us.  I  think  they  were 
the  crew  of  a  trench-mortar,  but  am  uncertain  regarding 

"  After  my  unsuccessful  patrol  had  returned  I  reported 
to  Ellis.  The  St.  Leger  Reserve  trench  (which  had  now 
become  the  front  line)  was  being  shelled  with  gas-shells 
(mustard  and  tear-gas),  and  I  found  Holdsworth  in  the 
section  of  trench  that  lay  between  the  road  and  the  em- 

238  ST.   LEGER  [Chap.  XVI 

bankment,  for  No.  4  Company  had.  come  up.  I  got 
sliglitly  gassed  getting  to  Company  H.Q.,  for  it  caught, 
me  before  I  could  adjust  my  respirator. 

"  Later  in  the  afternoon  I  relieved  Paton  in  the  left 
of  the  line.  The  trench  was  very  shallow,  barely  two 
feet  deep,  with  deep  slits  in  the  bays,  but  very  trying  to 
work  along,  for  it  was  swept  with  machine-gun  fire,  and 
Upjohn  had  been  killed  in  trying  to  get  along  it  to  No.  3 
Company  H.Q.'^ 

During  the  night  the  line  was  reorganised,  No.  2  Com- 
pany relieving  No.  3  in  Leger  Keserve  Trench ;  Prince  of 
Wales's  and  No.  4  were  in  Leger  Trench,  and  No.  3  in 
reserve  in  a  sunken  road. 

The  advance  was  to  continue  at  4.30  a.m.  with  tanks. ^ 
At  the  appointed  hour  a  thick  mist  made  it  impossible 
to  see  more  than  ten  yards,  and  there  was  no  sign  of  any 
tanks.  But  No.  2  Company  advanced  and  got  in  with 
the  bayonet  on  some  advanced  enemy  posts,  but  soon 
ran  into  thick  wire  and  heavy  fire  from  machine  guns. 
The  situation  was  very  confusing.  It  was  so  dark  no 
one  could  tell  where  he  was  with  any  degree  of  certitude. 
Patrols  tried  to  cut  the  wire,  but  found  the  enemy  alert 
and  were  unable  to  get  through. 

While  the  company  lay  down  in  the  long  grass  at- 
tempts were  made  to  get  in  touch  with  troops  on  either 
flank,  but  none  could  be  found.  Small  parties  of  the 
enemy  kept  looming  through  the  fog  as  though  to  attack, 
but  were  easily  driven  off  with  considerable  loss. 

The  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  followed  the  line  of 
the  railway  too  far,  and  appeared  on  the  left  of  No.  2 
Company,  where  they  also  ran  into  wire  and  machine 
guns  and  lost  a  number  of  men. 

Meanwhile  Hill  (commanding  No.  2  Company)  had 
managed  to  get  messages  back  to  Bonn,  and  Bonn,  filled 
with  anxiety,  started  off  with  Pte.  Hammond,  the  head- 
quarters orderly,  to  view  the  situation  for  himself.  He 
got  completely  lost  in  the  fog  and  penetrated  the  enemy 
lines.    Fortunately  Hammond  had  good  eyes,  and,  recog- 

1  Appendix  B  12. 

Aug.  1918]  ST.   LEGER  239 

nising  enemy  troops,  though  dimly  seen,  they  tried  to 
get  back,  only  to  discover  more  Germans  behind  them. 
Bonn  then  spent  an  exciting  hour,  his  greatest  difficulty 
being,  he  declared,  to  stop  Hammond  from  shooting  at 
different  parties  of  the  enemy.  Hammond  was  one  of 
the  coolest  and  most  gallant  of  men. 

Goetz,  with  No.  4  Company,  had  in  the  meantime 
disposed  his  company  with  some  skill  on  the  right  flank 
and  informed  Ellis  of  the  fact.  And,  after  an  hour  and 
a  half  of  probing  about,  Ellis  decided  to  order  all  com- 
panies back  into  Leger  Reserve  Trench.  When  this  was 
accomplished  belated  orders  arrived  that  no  advance 
would  be  made  east  of  Leger  Reserve  Trench.  Shortly 
after  Walter  Bonn  managed  to  return. 

The  two  days'  fighting  is  remarkable  for  the  manner 
in  which  the  enemy  stood  to  be  bayoneted.  The  ad- 
vance was  contested  all  the  way.  The  fog  on  the  morn- 
ing of  the  25th,  together  with  the  fact  that  troops  on  the 
right  and  left  did  not  advance  owing  to  some  misunder- 
standing about  time,  and  the  non-appearance  of  tanks — 
which,  indeed,  would  not  have  helped  in  keeping  direc- 
tion^gave  Bonn  and  the  officers  under  him  a  most 
difficult  task  ;  but  he  had  cleared  the  ground  in  front 
of  him  to  a  depth  of  1 ,000  yards,  and  the  enemy  did  not 
come  back. 

The  prisoners  taken  were  86  ;  one  field-gun  and 
seven  heavy  machine  guns  were  also  captured  by  the 

Casualties  were  144. 

From  1,215  Cpl.  Drake,  who  was  killed  trying  to  rush 
a  machine  gun  by  himself,  to  2,333  Pte.  Llewellyn 
Edwards,  who,  having  dropped  his  rifle  while  scrambling 
over  some  wire,  engaged  in  fisticuffs  with  the  enemy,  all 
the  men  did  well.  823  Sergt.  E.  Jones,  408  Sergt.  Davies, 
1,037  Sergt.  Aspinall,  1,876  L/Sergt.  Gilbert,  1,063 
L/Sergt.  Hutchings,  1,078  Cpl.  Attfield,  216  L/Cpl.  R. 
Davies,  252  L/Cpl.  Messer,  1,529  L/Cpl.  G.  Thomas,  Ptes. 
4,153  H.  Crebben,  4,016  J.  Cornelius,  144  S.  G.  Spencer, 
and  2,111  H.  G.  Neale  were  a  few  whose  names  were 
noted  for  good  work. 

240  LT.-COL.   LUXMOORE   BALL     [Chap.  XVI 

PoorUpjolin  was  a  very  gallant  fellow,  with  supreme 
contempt  for  the  enemy. 

The  battalion  was  relieved  on  the  night  of  the  25th 
by  the  2nd  Battalion  Coldstream  Guards,  and  marched 
back  to  trenches  east  of  Boiry,  and  from  there  on  the 
27th  to  trenches  south  of  Ransart.  Major  Luxmoore 
Ball  then  assumed  command  and  the  battalion  refitted. 
Luxmoore  Ball  stood  6  feet  4  inches,  with  a  fine  width 
of  shoulder.  He  was  a  very  dark  man,  with  blue  eyes, 
a  fierce  expression,  quick  temper,  and  the  heart  of  a  boy. 
He  enjoyed  life  thoroughly.  Like  Humphrey  Dene,  he 
had  had  much  experience  in  the  trenches,  and  has  the 
longest  active  service  with  the  battalion  of  any  officer 
in  the  regiment,  with  the  exception  of  Dabell.  He  was 
the  only  Commanding  Officer  in  the  Brigade  of  Guards 
to  wear  the  D.C.M. 

For  a  few  days  the  battalion  trained  and  rested,  and 
on  September  2nd  the  3rd  Guards  Brigade  concentrated 
at  a  place  called  Maida  Vale  between  Mory  and  Ecoust. 
The  battalion  bivouacked  in  old  trenches  west  of  Ecoust, 
and  at  5.20  a.m.  on  the  3rd  formed  up  on  the  line  of  the 
railway  north  of  Ecoust  to  attack  in  the  direction  of 
Lagnicourt.^  The  2nd  Guards  Brigade  were  on  the  right 
of  the  battalion  and  the  2nd  Scots  Guards  on  the  left. 
This  attack  was  again  preceded  by  a  barrage,  which  crept 
forward  at  the  rate  of  100  yards  every  four  minutes,  and 
at  6.45  a.m.  an  advance  of  2,000  yards  had  been  made 
with  little  opposition,  although  the  battalion  gathered 
in  fourteen  prisoners  and  a  quantity  of  abandoned 
machine  guns. 

All  this  country  was  organised  with  lines  of  trenches, 
and  was  capable  of  vigorous  defence ;  but  the  enemy  was 
now  near  the  Hindenburg  Line,  where  he  proposed  to 

The  leading  companies.  No.  4  and  the  Prince  of  V^ales's 
(under  Harrop)  sent  out  patrols  to  the  high  ground  to 
the  east  of  Ijagnicourt  and  found  the  ridges  were  not 
held,  and  at  1  p.m.  the  whole  brigade  continued  the 
advance  to  about  3,000  yards  from  Moeuvres,  when  lead- 

1  Appendix  B  13. 

Sept.  1918]  LAGNICOURT  241 

ing  companies  formed  an  outpost  line.  No  opposition 
was  met  with  beyond  long-range  shelling. 

The  battalion  was  relieved  at  1.30  a.m.  on  the  4th,  and 
at  5.30  a.m.  again  passed  through  the  outpost  line  with 
the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  on  the  left  as  advance 
guard  to  the  division.  The  order  was  No.  3  Company  on 
the  right,  No.  2  on  the  left,  No.  4  in  support,  and  the 
Prince  of  Wales's  Company  in  reserve.  The  corps  on 
the  left  were  reported  to  hold  Moeuvres,  and  the  division 
was  ordered  to  advance  to  the  Hindenburg  Support,  but 
no  serious  attack  was  to  be  made  if  the  enemy  showed 
signs  of  resistance. 

When  the  leading  companies  reached  the  ridge  east 
of  Boursies  they  were  met  with  long-range  machine-gun 
fire,  and  the  enemy  showed  himself  in  numbers  on  the 
opposite  ridge  ;  it  was  therefore  decided  to  consolidate 
on  the  ground  occupied.  A  flank  was  formed,  as  the 
troops  on  the  right  were  not  in  touch. 

Twice  during  the  day  Trotter  gallantly  led  patrols  to 
try  and  cross  the  valley,  but  each  time  was  driven  back, 
he  being  mortally  wounded  in  the  last  attempt.  And 
so  matters  remained  until  6.30  p.m.,  when  the  2nd  Scots 
Guards  attacked  under  a  barrage,  and  No.  3  Company 
Welsh  Guards  with  strong  patrols  out  in  front  advanced 
across  the  valley  and  gained  the  opposite  ridge.  Here 
they  encountered  heavy  machine-gun  fire  from  the 
Hindenburg  Line,  but  they  occupied  Goat  Trench  and 
tried  to  work  forward  down  communication  trenches; 
they  found,  however,  that  all  the  trenches  were  blocked 
and  held,  and  that  the  whole  line  was  strongly  de- 
fended with  many  machine  guns. 

It  was  now  dark,  and  all  through  the  night  the  enemy 
kept  up  a  constant  machine-gun  fire.  In  spite  of  this 
patrols  tested  the  possibility  of  further  advance,  but 
found  the  whole  front  heavily  wired.  The  Scots  Guards 
found  the  same  strong  defence  on  the  left.  Shelling  was 
constant,  and  the  reserve  company  was  heavily  gassed. 

There  was  still  a  large  gap  on  the  right  of  the  battalion, 
and  at  3  p.m.  orders  were  received  that  as  this  gap  would 
not  be  filled  by  troops  on  the  right  the  Welsh  Guards 

242  THE   HINDENBURG  LINE      [Chap.  XVI 

must  make  it  good.  The  battalion  was  now  some  1 ,200 
vards  from  the  Canal  du  Nord,  on  the  far  side  of  which 
was  a  commanding  rise  crowned  by  Bourlon  Wood,  with 
direct  observation  over  any  movement.  No.  2  Company 
succeeded  in  getting  two  platoons  into  Goat  Trench,  on 
the  right  of  No.  3,  but  shelling  then  became  so  intense 
that  the  Commanding  Officer  directed  that  no  further 
attempts  should  be  made.  It  must  be  remembered 
that  Goat  Trench  was  an  enemy  trench,  and  protected 
by  belts  of  wire,  so  that  all  approach  to  it  was  down  a 
forward  slope  and  over  the  wire.  At  night  a  way  was 
cut  through  and  the  remaining  two  platoons  of  the 
company  moved  in  on  the  right. 

The  3rd  Guards  Brigade  was  relieved  that  night  by 
the  2nd  Guards  Brigade,  and  the  battalion  went  into 
trenches  and  dugouts  east  of  Lagnicourt. 

We  are  now  at  September  5th  and  in  front  of  the 
Hindenburg  Line.  The  advance  from  the  positions 
Ayette — Boyelles  had  been  merely  pursuit  of  the  enemy, 
who  only  stood  when  the  battalion  attacked  at  St.  Leger 
on  August  24th — we  are  speaking  of  the  days  when  the 
battalion  led  the  advance.  But  now  the  enemy  was  in 
his  celebrated  stronghold,  the  invincible  Hindenburg 
Line,  the  place  where  he  undoabtedly  meant  to  stand 
and  hold  up  the  advance — a  by  no  means  impossible 
dream,  as  he  was  numerically  stronger  than  the  British 
forces  before  him.  But,  although  he  had  scrambled  back 
to  the  Hindenburg  Line,  its  stability  was  already  threat- 

The  Canal  du  Nord  is  only  an  incident  in  the  Hinden- 
burg Line,  which  ran  from  St.  Quentin  in  the  south,  by 
the  Scheldt  Canal,  La  Vacquerie,  in  front  of  Ribecourt 
and  Havrincourt  (on  the  east  of  the  canal),  then  along 
the  western  banlc  of  the  canal  to  JMoeuvres,  where  it 
turned  west  to  Queant.  The  Hindenburg  Line  ceased 
here,  but  was  linked  up  to  the  strong  Lens  defences  by 
a  mass  of  trenches  and  wire  known  as  the  Drocourt — 
Queant  Line. 

On  September  2nd  the  1st  and  4th  Canadian  Divisions, 
the  4th,  52nd,  57th,  and  63rd  Divisions  broke  through 

Sept.  1918]       THE   HINDENBURG  LINE  243 

the  Drocoiirt — Queant  system  and  accelerated  the  enemy 
retreat  behind  the  Hindenburg  Line  while  threatening 
that  line  itself. 

Ten  days  later  the  62nd  Division  captured  the  village 
of  Havrincourt. 

Meanwhile, the  battalion  rested  intrenches  nearLagni- 
court,  and  had  baths  which  had  been  fixed  in  the  ruins 
of  that  village.  On  the  12th  it  went  back  into  the  line 
in  what  was  called  the  Moeuvres  sector,  immediately 
north  of  the  Bapaume—Cambrai  Road.  Shelling  was 
very  severe,  and  the  gallant  Sergt.  Evans,  the  sick  ser- 
geant, was  mortally  wounded  on  the  16th.  His  acts  of 
courage  and  coolness  while  tending  the  wounded  are 
beyond  number — a  quiet,  smiling,  smart  man  of  medium 
height,  with  clear  blue  eyes  and  square  jaw,  with  a  cheery 
word  for  every  stricken  man,  never  weary,  never  flus- 
tered— he  was  a  great  loss. 

The  enemy  was  most  active  ;  not  only  did  he  shell  the 
line  night  and  day  and  use  a  great  deal  of  gas,  but  his 
patrols  were  adventurous.  On  the  17th  No.  4  Company 
was  attacked  as  the  battalion  was  being  relieved  by  the 
2nd  Battalion  Coldstream  Guards.  The  enemy  selected 
the  extreme  left  post,  which  was  held  by  a  platoon  under 
Sergt.  Waddington.  An  old  communication-trench  con- 
nected the  British  and  enemy  line  at  this  point,  and  the 
enemy  tried  a  bombing  raid  down  this  trench.  Sergt. 
Waddington  led  his  men  out  of  the  trench  and  bombed 
the  enemy  from  the  parapet.  Foiled  in  this  direction, 
they  now  tried  to  rush  Waddington  in  the  open,  but  he 
and  his  men  met  them  there  and  drove  them  back.  It 
was  quite  a  brisk  little  fight. 

After  a  rest  near  Noreuil  the  battalion  went  into  the 
Demicourt  sector,  on  the  south  of  the  Bapaume—  Cambrai 
Road.  Posts  on  the  right  of  the  battalion  front  were  on 
the  Canal  Bank,  and  Adams,  a  new  officer,  succeeded 
in  taking  a  small  patrol  across  the  canal  in  daylight. 
At  night,  however,  the  enemy  was  very  aggressive,  and 
twice  made  attempts  on  the  right  company  (No.  3). 
The  company  was  disposed  in  a  series  of  posts  and  the 
ground  was  very  broken  and  confused.    The  first  raid 

244  THE   HINDENBURG   LINE       [Chap.  XVI 

was  a  matter  of  a  patrol  getting  between  two  posts  and 
being  met  by  an  orderly  who,  however,  managed  to  escape 
with  a  bayonet-wound.  The  patrol  was  then  chased  out. 
Encouraged  no  doubt  by  thinking  it  was  easy  to  get 
through,  a  more  ambitious  attempt  was  made  the  next 
night,  but  was  met  with  Lewis  Guns.  Paton  then  went 
out  to  get  identification  from  the  enemy  dead,  but  as  he 

4^  ^ejyy^loy 

GueucUcourt  \  Scale  of  Miles 


The  HrNDENBTiRG  Line. 

reached  them  the  British  barrage  came  down  in  No  Man's 
Land  and  wounded  his  orderly.  Paton  hastily  cut  a 
shoulder-strap  from  the  nearest  body  and  helped  his 
orderly  back.  The  battalion  was  at  that  moment  being 
relieved  by  the  2nd  Battalion  Coldstream  Guards,  and 
only  when  he  was  back  in  the  trenches  near  Lagnicourt, 
and  went  to  report,  did  Paton  discover  that  the  shoulder- 
strap  was  blank. 

Sept.  1918]       THE   HINDENBURG   LINE  245 

The  battalion  rested  from  the  23rd  to  the  26th. 
The  country  in  front  of  the  Hindenbnrg  Line  was  most 

"  All  the  villages  are  flat,  merely  marked  by  heaps  of 
white  and  brick-coloured  dust,  the  trees  are  all  cut  down, 
and  the  series  of  ridges  have  no  landmarks  of  any  kind 
to  distinguish  one  from  the  other.  Wandering  about, 
one  finds  gun-pits  and  stacks  of  ammunition  of  all  sizes — 
these  are  sometimes  in  sunken  roads,  but  mostly  dotted 
about  the  country,  which  is  all  overgrown  with  coarse 
grass.  It  is  good  country  for  any  sort  of  manoeuvres,  as 
it  is  criss-crossed  with  trenches,  though  they  are  over- 
grown and  look  like  ditches." — Diary,  C.  H.  D.  W. 

But  during  the  pause  of  three  weeks  the  desolation, 
without  losing  any  of  its  frightful  atmosphere  of  destruc- 
tion and  ruin,  became  a  most  animated  scene.  Marshal 
Foch,  in  consultation  with  Sir  Douglas  Haig  and  other 
Allied  Commanders,  had  decided  on  four  simultaneous 
offensives.  The  Americans  were  to  thrust  west  of  the 
Meuse  and  in  the  direction  of  Mezieres  ;  the  French,  to 
the  west  of  the  Argonne,  were  to  advance  in  close  co- 
operation with  the  Americans  and  with  the  same  objec- 
tives ;  the  British  would  drive  forward  on  the  St.  Quen- 
tin — Cambrai  front  in  the  direction  of  Maubeuge  ;  and 
the  Belgian  and  Allied  Forces  would  push  forward  in  the 
direction  of  Ghent. 



In  front  of  the  British  Army  was  the  last  belt  of  prepared 
defences  on  which  all  the  skill  and  ingenuity  of  the  enemy, 
all  the  study  of  the  past  forty  years,  had  been  lavished. 
One  felt  "  Der  Tag  "  had  arrived.  There  was  a  kind  of 
eagerness,  an  expression  of  expectancy,  a  curious  grin 
noticeable  among  the  men.  Every  man  was  used  to  the 
whistle,  wail,  and  crash  of  shells,  to  the  drone  of  the  night 
aeroplane,  and  the  wumph,  wumph,  wumph  of  its  bombs ; 
but  there  seemed  to  be  more  bitterness,  more  determina- 
tion in  the  shelling,  and  certainly  enemy  aeroplanes  had 
never  been  chased  as  now. 

The  peculiar  waving  drone  of  the  enemy  aeroplane 
would  be  heard  every  night,  and  the  dark  vault  of  the 
sky  would  be  cut  by  countless  shafts  of  light  searching 
for  the  adventurer  of  the  air  ;  one  ray  would  catch  him 
and  at  once  all  rays  would  concentrate  on  the  large  but 
ghostly  night-moth.  Aircraft  and  machine  guns  then 
opened  fire,  phosphorus  bullets  rising  like  a  trail  of 
sparks.  Suddenly  high  up  in  the  heavens  a  star  would 
appear,  blinking — dot  dash  dash  dot,  dot  dash  dash  dot 
— and  while  an  observer  might  wonder  why  a  star  should 
apparently  signal,  or  if  his  eye  had  played  him  false,  a 
little  trail  of  sparks  would  come  down  from  nowhere,  and 
one  seemingly  settle  on  the  silvery  aircraft.  Was  it 
fancy,  or  could  a  long-drawn  "  A-ah  "  be  heard  ?  The 
settled  spark  grew  and  grew — the  course  of  the  aeroplane 
altered  towards  the  earth — as  it  swept  down  it  blazed, 
and,  as  a  flame  slanting  from  the  sky,  fell  to  the  ground. 
And  the  star  twinkled  while  a  signaller  read  "  Cheerio." 


Sept.  1918]  IMAJOR-GEN.  FEILDING  247 

Before  the  division  attacked  again  it  lost  its  old  tried 
and  trusted  leader.  Lord  Cavan  had  the  honour  of  first 
commanding  the  division,  and  Major-Gen.  Matheson  that 
of  commanding  in  the  very  last  phase  of  the  Great  War, 
but  Major-Gen.  Feilding  may  be  looked  upon,  from  the 
length  of  time  he  commanded  and  the  number  of  engage- 
ments he  went  through,  as  the  commander  of  the  Guards 
Division.  He  had  sound  common  sense  and  was  abso- 
lutely fearless — two  good  qualities  for  a  soldier.  Pro- 
motion is  not  always  viewed  by  lower  ranks  with  favour 
— that  is,  promotion  which  cannot  affect  their  own  status 
— and  in  this  case  it  was  generally  wished  that  Geoffrey 
Feilding's  promotion  might  have  been  delayed. 

To  the  battalion  itself  Percy  Battye  and  Fox-Pitt 
returned — Battye  to  No.  4  Company  (Dudley  Ward  be- 
coming second  in  command  of  the  battalion),  Fox-Pitt 
to  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company.  All  was  ready  for 
the  attack.  The  Welsh  Guards  came  out  of  the  line  of 
organised  trenches  for  the  last  time,  and  were  billeted  in 
some  German  dugouts  under  a  bank  to  the  east  of  Lagni- 

"  All  days  are  much  the  same  with  the  exception  of 
X  and  Y  days.  These  lettered  days  are  a  product  of 
the  war.  Whenever  anything  is  doing  the  two  preceding 
days  are  called  X  and  Y,  the  day  of  action  '  Z  '  day—  to- 
day is  the  Y  day.  During  the  last  ten  days  we  have 
been  preparing  for  a  big  battle,  though  it  only  became 
known  five  days  ago.  I  believe  it  is  to  be  the  biggest 
fight  of  the  war,  and  is  of  absorbing  interest.  All  plans 
are  laid  up  to  a  point,  and  then  they  cease,  as  that  point 
means  success,  and  the  catch  word  '  exploiting  success ' 
is  applied.  My  map  is  of  all  colours  of  the  rainbow,  each 
colour  meaning  a  different  move.  I  have  painted  one  for 
each  company  commander,  and  for  once  I  think  each 
officer  knows  what  is  being  attempted  on  his  flank  to  a 
distance  of  a  corps  frontage  on  either  side.  I  am  not 
quite  clear  how  many  corps  will  really  attack,  but  rumour 
has  it  that  four  armies  are  going.  At  any  rate  one  feels 
there  is  a  plan,  and  that  is  very  encouraging. 


248  THE   HINDENBURG  LINE      [Chap.  XVII 

"  Ball  is  doing  things  very  well.  He  understands  his 
scheme,  knows  his  map,  and  has  explained  everything 
clearly  to  all  concerned.  It  only  remains  to  be  seen  if 
he  can  apply  what  he  knows  to  the  ground,  and  I  think 
he  will.  Yesterday  the  major-general  in  his  pow-wow 
with  officers  and  N.C.O.'s.  gave  a  glimpse  of  the  larger 
movements  which  should  extend  over  a  good  many  days. 
He  also  told  us  what  troops  we  might  expect  to  meet. 

"  I  shall  be  left  behind  with  Sergt.-Major  Stevenson, 
who  is  raging  like  a  bull,  and  declaring,  with  many  stut- 
ters, *  I,  sir,  I — I  am  ab-ab-absolutely  useless,  sir  !  ' 

"  The  guns  we  have  in  position  are  beyond  counting, 
and  just  lie  about  with  no  attempt  at  concealment.  Am- 
munition the  same.  Tents  are  pitched  in  full  view  of  the 
enemy ;  thousands  of  grazing  horses  crown  every  sky- 
line ;  at  night  the  roads  are  impassable  with  the  quantity 
of  horse,  motor,  and  tank  traffic  ;  and  by  day  and  night 
the  one  continual  noise  is  from  aeroplanes  buzzing  about. 
Cavalcades  of  officers,  with  maps  waving  in  the  air,  ride 
along  tracks  looking  at  the  country— in  fact,  no  one  gives 
a  damn  for  the  Boche,  who,  considering  the  vast  prepara- 
tions, is  wonderfully  quiet.  He  can't  say  we  don't  tell 
him  we  are  coming. 

"  September  27th. — Every  one  went  to  bed  early  last 
night  and  about  10.30  p.m.,  just  before  going  to  sleep,  I 
heard  a  few  drops  of  rain  fall  on  the  roof  of  my  tin  shelter. 
Reveille  was  at  3  a.m.,  and  it  was  then  drizzling,  very 
fine  like  mist ;  the  ground,  however,  beyond  being  slimy 
on  the  surface,  was  good.  The  first  thing  I  heard  was 
Stevenson  calling  out,  *  Get  up,  everybody — meet  the 
Germans  at  4.30  !  '  Then  there  was  a  thud,  and  for  the 
first  time  I  heard  him  swear  good  solid  army  oaths.  But 
his  good  spirits  returned,  and  I  heard  him  slide  away 
saying,  *  Where  is  my  valet  ?  Does  he  want  me  to  bring 
him  a  cup  of  tea  ?  ' 

"  Breakfast  at  four,  and  everybody  very  cheerful  while 
they  got  ready  without  any  fuss.  At  ten  minutes  to  five 
the  battalion  marched  with  an  interval  of  50  to  100  yards 
between  platoons,  Ball  and  H.Q.  going  last.  .  .  . 

"  Stevenson  and  I  climbed  to  a  high  spot  at  5.20,  and 

Sept.  1918]  THE  ATTACK  249 

the  barrage  started  to  a  second.  It  was  still  dark, 
but  the  niisty  rain  had  cleared  and  half  a  moon  shone 
brightly  ;  a  decent  breeze  was  blowing  patches  of  light 
clouds  towards  the  Hun,  and  prevented  us  hearing  the 
forward  guns  which  had  been  moved  up  almost  behind 
the  front  line.  The  whole  horizon  was  lit  up  with  a 
bright,  yellow, flickering  glow,  like  summer  lightning,  and 
then  Hun  lights,  green  and  red,  shot  up  in  bunches,  but 
not  a  great  number  of  them. 

"  At  six  o'clock  the  first  aeroplane  went  over— at  6.30 
the  first  balloon  went  up.  We  walked  leisurely  forward 
with  the  growing  light,  and  topping  the  next  rise,  found 
the  distant  battle  was  before  us  like  a  coloured  print  of 
such  scenes.  We  were  looking  due  east,  and  a  low,  dark 
cloud-bank  hid  the  rising  sun,  but  above  the  cloud-bank 
was  a  blaze  of  red  and  yellow  light.  AVe  could  see  a 
succession  of  ridges  and  the  silhouettes  of  two  villages — a 
large  one  far  off  in  the  centre — and  on  the  left  high, 
commanding  ground  with  Bourlon  Wood.  Smoke  was 
drifting  up  and  away  from  us,  rising  first  in  round,  woolly 
puffs,  then  in  feathery  spirals ;  but  the  view  was  vast 
and  distant,  so  that  these  shell-bursts  seemed  puny 
things,  making  innumerable  small  streaks  and  blobs  of 
white  and  light  grey.  Pin-point  flashes  scattered  about 
the  blue  ridges  showed  where  many  enemy  guns  were 
firing,  and,  from  a  military  point  of  view,  I  was  surprised 
at  the  small  number  of  enemy  flashes,  also,  as  far  as  one 
could  make  out  at  that  distance,  the  poor  reply  to  our  fire. 

"We  were  not  allowed  to  look  at  the  spectacle  very 
long,  as  the  sun  shot  out  of  the  cloud-bank  and  effectively 
blinded  us. 

"  As  we  strolled  back  we  found  balloons  coming  for- 
ward, floating  high  above  the  motor-lorries  to  which  they 
were  attached.  Columns  of  artillery  limbers,  squads  of 
Red  Cross  men,  carts,  mules,  and  a  stream  of  men  passed 
in  an  endless  procession  down  the  road. 

"  Soon  after  10  a.m.  Spence  Thomas,  who  had  been 
in  charge  of  a  party  carrying  Lewis  Guns  and  ammunition 
so  as  to  save  the  fighting  men  as  much  as  possible,  came 
back.     He  told  me  the  battalion  had  crossed  the  canal 

250  THE  HINDENBURG  LINE     [Chap.  XVII 

without  casualties,  and  that  the  Hun  barrage  was  no- 
thing. He  had,  however,  lost  eighteen  killed  and 
wounded  by  a  stray  shell  which  pitched  right  into  the 
centre  of  his  party  just  over  the  next  rise.  I  sent  him 
back  to  Detsiils."— Diary,  C.  H.  D.  W. 

To  follow  the  movements  of  the  battalion,  we  must 
once  more  give  a  general  idea  of  the  big  plan  of  battle.^ 
The  IV,  VI,  and  XVII  and  Canadian  Corps  were  attack- 
ing in  the  direction  of  Cambrai  on  a  thirteen-mile  front 
from  Gouzeaucourt  to  Sauchy  Lestyre.  Of  the  VI  Corps 
the  3rd  Division  was  on  the  right  and  the  Guards  Division 
on  the  left.  The  57th  Division  was  to  operate  on  the 
left  of  the  Guards.  Orders  issued  covered  an  advance 
to  the  St.  Quentin  Canal.  On  the  right  flank  the  1st 
Battalion  Gordon  Highlanders  and  a  battalion  of  the 
Suffolk  Regiment  were  to  accompany  the  2nd  and  1st 
Guards  Brigades  to  the  east  of  Flesquieres,  when  the 
2/20th  London  Regiment  would  pass  through  and  con- 
tinue the  advance  to  Marcoing.  On  the  left  flank  it  was 
hoped  that  the  9th  Battalion  King's  Liverpool  Regiment 
would  advance  to  the  outskirts  of  Cantaing,  which  place 
would  be  assaulted  by  the  1st  Battalion  Royal  Munsters. 

Those  were  the  orders.  Actually  the  57th  Division  did 
not  advance  till  later  in  the  day,  and  the  52nd  Division 
crossed  the  canal  on  the  left  of  the  Guards  Division,  but 
were  held  up  by  the  strong  defences  before  Graincourt. 
The  point  to  be  remembered,  in  following  all  the  move- 
ments of  the  Guards  Division,  is  that  the  division  on  their 
left  flank  was  stationary  after  crossing  the  canal,  and 
that  the  village  of  Graincourt  was  only  captured  by  the 
63rd  Division  late  in  the  day.  The  enemy  resistance  at 
that  point  was  of  a  most  desperate  nature. 

The  line  of  advance  for  the  Guards  Division  was  to  the 
south  of  Graincourt,  and  north  of  Flesquieres  through 
Orival  Wood,  Nine  Wood  to  Noyelles  sur  TEscaut.  On 
the  right  flank  everything  went  according  to  plan. 

The  2nd  Guards  Brigade  opened  the  attack  ;  the  1st 
Brigade  were  to  go  through  them  and  advance  to  the 

^  Appendix  B  14. 

Sept.  1918]  THE   ATTACK  251 

east  of  Flesquieres,  and   the  3rd  would  carry  on  to 
Noyelles  sur  TE scant. 

The  role  of  the  3rd  Gnards  Brigade  was  to  march 
behind  the  two  attacking  brigades,  and  form  up  for  the 
assault  four  hours  after  zero  on  ground  to  the  north-east 
of  Flesquieres,  when  it  would  pass  through  the  1st 
Brigade.  The  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  marched 
on  the  right,  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  on  the  left, 
and  the  Welsh  Guards  were  in  support  with  No.  3,  No.  2 
and  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  in  rear  of  the  Grenadiers, 
No.  4  in  rear  of  the  Scots  Guards. 

The  head  of  the  column  passed  the  Bapaume — Cambrai 
Road  at  zero,  having  then  some  5,000  yards  to  go  before 
reaching  the  canal.  No  inconvenience  was  caused  by 
enemy  shelling  until  the  canal  was  reached.  The  cross- 
ing had  been  arranged  at  Lock  7,  which  was  an  obvious 
place  on  which  the  enemy  had  concentrated  considerable 
shell-fire,  but  the  battalion  halted  in  a  sunlcen  road  and 
crossed  by  sections,  slithering  down  the  steep  bank  and 
climbing  slowly  up  the  opposite  one,  and  they  suffered 
no  casualties.  At  this  point  it  was  obvious  that  all  was 
not  progressing  according  to  plan. 

The  Grenadiers  were  halted,  there  was  no  sign  of  the 
Scots  Guards,  machine-gun  fire  from  the  direction  of 
Graincourt  was  very  heavy,  and  the  air  was  alive  with 
hissing  and  whip-like  sounds.  The  companies  took  cover 
along  a  bank  and  in  some  trenches  running  parallel  to  the 
canal.  At  8.50  a.m.  the  Grenadiers  started  to  advance, 
and  the  Welsh  Guards  Companies  took  up  their  positions 
in  rear  and  followed.  It  was  then  seen  that  the  2nd 
and  1st  Brigades  were  forming  a  long  flank  in  the  old 
British  Line  facing  Graincourt  (Shingler  and  Silver 

Taking  advantage  of  trenches  running  on  the  line  of 
his  advance,  L.  F.  Ellis, with  No.  3  Company,led  the  way 
to  the  outskirts  of  Flesquieres,  which  was  being  heavily 
shelled.  Already  the  battalion  had  suffered  considerable 
casualties.  No.  2  Company  and  the  Prince  of  Wales's 
Company  had  become  involved  in  a  trench  occupied  by 
the  2nd  Grenadier  Guards  (Shingler),  and  while  Fox-Pitt 

252  THE   HINDENBURG  LINE      [Chap.  XVII 

and  Coleman  (commanding  No.  2)  were  trying  to  extri- 
cate them  three  tanks  advanced  across  the  line  in  a 
north-east  direction.  At  once  the  enemy  concentrated 
his  guns  on  them  and  two  were  destroyed;  the  third 
turned  and  retired  down  the  length  of  the  trench  to  the 
discomfiture  of  the  troops  in  it. 

Eventually  these  two  companies  got  out  of  the  trench 
and  followed  Nos.  3  and  4  to  the  outskirts  of  Flesqui^res. 
Ellis  led  the  way  to  the  north  and  joined  up  with  the 
Grenadiers  in  a  sunken  road  and  some  trenches  imme- 
diately to  the  east  of  that  village. 

It  will  be  seen  by  a  glance  at  the  map  that  the  1st 
and  2nd  Guards  Brigades,  having  stormed  the  Canal 
and  driven  the  enemy  beyond  Flesqui^res,  were  now 
strung  out,  forming  a  flank  facing  Graincourt,  which  was 
far  behind  the  3rd  Brigade  (it  transpired  that  the  2nd 
Battalion  Scots  Guards  had  become  involved  in  this 
flank).  The  valley  to  the  east  of  Graincourt  was  held 
by  a  number  of  field-guns  and  field-batteries,  which  fired 
at  the  advancing  Welsh  Guards  over  open  sights,  and  in 
any  further  advance  beyond  Flesqui^res  troops  meeting 
resistance  would  be  in  the  uncomfortable  position  of 
being  shot  at  from  front  and  rear.  As  it  was  the  battalion 
reached  this  point  with  some  difficulty.  Troops  were 
somewhat  bewildered  by  the  situation,  and  persisted  in 
trying  to  follow  their  natural  inclination,  which  was  to 
face  the  enemy  they  could  see ;  moving  under  heavy 
shell-fire  and  machine-gun  fire  to  what  was  apparently  a 
flank  was  puzzling.  Eventually  Fox-Pitt  and  Coleman, 
aided  by  the  Commanding  Officer,  who  walked  about 
under  fire  in  the  most  inspiring  way,  succeeded  in  getting 
the  rear  half  of  the  battalion  to  the  east  of  Flesqui^res, 
and  joined  up  with  Nos.  3  and  4  Companies. 

The  Commanding  Officer  now  found  Lord  Gort,  com- 
manding the  1st  Battalion  Grenadiers,  in  the  sunken 
road  on  that  side  of  the  village.  Lord  Gort  had  been 
wounded  in  the  face  and  arm,  but  said  that  he  had  two 
companies  well  on  the  way  to  Premy  Chapel,  a  strong 
point  on  the  east  of  the  spur  which  runs  in  the  direction 
Noyelies  sur  TEscaut,  and  that  he  was  going  to  push  on, 



Sept.  1918]  THE  ATTACK  253 

with  King's  Company  on  the  right  and  No.  3  Company 
on  the  left.  He  asked  the  Commanding  Officer  to  look 
after  his  flanks.  Ellis  was  therefore  told  to  follow  the 
King's  Company,  and  Coleman  to  follow  No.  3  Company 
of  the  Grenadiers,  Fox-Pitt  to  take  his  company  to  a 
position  about  1,200  yards  to  the  north-east  of  Fles- 
qui^res.  Meanwhile  No.  3  Company  of  the  Grenadiers 
had  started  to  move,  and  Battye  had  taken  up  a  position 
with  his  company  on  the  flank  facing  Orival  Wood ; 
when  the  Commanding  Officer  heard  of  this  he  ordered 
Battye  to  move  to  the  east  of  Fox-Pitt  and  hold  the 
spur  which  runs  in  the  direction  of  Cantaing  (LI 4 
and  9). 

The  King's  Company,  advancing  on  the  right,  split 
into  two ;  the  right  half  was  followed  by  a  platoon  of 
No.  3  Company,  under  Powell,  the  left  half  was  followed 
by  Adams  and  his  platoon.  There  seems  to  have  been 
no  officer  with  the  King's  Company,  and  the  right  half, 
coming  across  part  of  No.  4  Company  of  the  Grenadiers, 
halted.  Powell  went  forward  and  ordered  the  No.  4 
Company  to  advance,  and  gave  them  the  direction  ;  the 
King's  Company  party  he  told  to  support  No.  4.  They 
advanced  along  a  bank  to  within  some  fifty  yards  of  the 
first  defences  of  Premy  Chapel  Trench — where  they  came 
under  such  heavy  fire  that  they  sent  back  word  they  could 
get  no  farther.  At  this  moment  troops  came  up  on  the 
left  and  proved  to  be  the  other  half  of  King's  Company. 
The  whole  of  King's  Company  now  joined  together,  but 
could  make  no  headway,  and  eventually  fell  back  on 
Beet  Trench. 

Powell  then  decided  to  put  No.  4  Company  of  the 
Grenadiers  in  a  trench  on  his  tight,  Nigger  Trench,  and 
Premy  Support ;  Adams  was  strung  out  on  his  left. 

Ellis  now  arrived  with  the  rest  of  his  company  in  Beet 
Trench,  and,  finding  that  the  2/20  London  Regiment  had 
come  up  on  the  right  of  the  No.  4  Company  of  the  Grena- 
diers, ordered  Powell  to  withdraw  his  platoon  as  a  reserve 
behind  Beet  Trench  ;  with  some  difficulty  he  also  with- 
drew Adams,  placing  three  Lewis  Guns  on  the  line  which 
his  platoon  had  occupied. 

254  THE  HINDENBURG  LINE      [Chap.  XVII 

Meanwhile  Fox-Pitt  had  taken  up  a  position  astride 
the  Flesquieres— Cantaing  Road  to  the  north  of  the  road 
from  Premy  Chapel.  Battye  and  his  company  were 
cruising  about  in  the  direction  of  Orival  Wood,  and  Ben 
Davies  had  penetrated  the  wood  with  a  Lewis  Gun  team, 
and  succeeded  in  surprising  and  annihilating  an  enemy 
machine-gun  team  before  Battye  received  his  orders  to 
move  to  the  east  of  Fox-Pitt.  He  tried  to  cross  the  ridge 
in  front  of  Fox-Pitt,  but  the  enemy,  in  the  valley  behind 
Graincourt  and  in  the  direction  of  Anneux,  were  fighting 
with  desperate  courage  to  keep  the  line  of  retreat  for  their 
infantry  in  Graincourt  open,  and  directed  such  heavy 
fire  on  him  with  field-gans  at  close  range  that  he  had  to 
retire  in  the  direction  of  Flesquieres.  Nothing  daunted, 
Battye  tried,  by  passing  behind  Fox-Pitt,  to  reach  the 
spur,  and,  by  taking  advantage  of  folds  in  the  ground, 
made  some  progress,  but  the  ground  became  unfavour- 
able, and  he  came  under  fire  from  Premy  Chapel  on  his 
right  and  the  valley  on  his  left.  However,  he  clung  on 
in  the  safer  folds  of  the  ground  until  he  found  the  No.  2 
and  3  Companies  of  the  Grenadiers  had  given  up  hope 
of  advancing  in  that  direction,  and  were  falling  back  on 
the  line  of  trenches  in  rear,  when  he  took  up  a  position 
on  the  left  of  Fox-Pitt. 

The  Commanding  Officer  determined  not  to  make  any 
further  attempt  to  gain  Premy  Chapel — Lord  Gort  had 
gone  back  and  he  was  the  senior  officer  on  the  spot.  He 
was,  moreover,  without  any  artillery  support,  as  the 
brigade  had  news  that  Premy  Chapel  was  occupied  by 
the  Grenadiers,  which  information  had  been  passed  on 
to  the  Higher  Command,  and  the  artillery  would  not  fire 
on  Premy  Chapel ;  it  also  seemed  as  though  the  Germans 
were  massing  in  Premy  Chapel  for  a  counter-attack — 
troops  were  seen  marching  in  that  direction.  To  add  to 
these  difficulties  he  was  being  fired  at  by  the  guns  in  the 
valley  and  also  a  forward  field-gun  in  Premy,  supported 
by  many  machine  guns.  By  the  time  he  had  convinced 
the  brigade  that  the  enemy  held  the  east  end  of  the  ridge 
Graincourt  had  been  entered  by  the  62nd  Division,  the 
enemy  could  be  seen  streaming  away  in  the  direction  of 



Sept.  1918] 

Cambrai,  and  he  had  order  to  stand  fast  for  the  night. 
Great  credit  is  due  to  the  Commanding  Officer  for  the 
way  in  which  he  handled  his  battalion  through  a  most 
confused  action. 

The  battalion  was  relieved  by  units  of  the  2nd  Divi- 
sion and  marched  back  to  rest  in  the  trenches  east  of 
Lock  7. 

In  view  of  the  position  on  the  left  it  is  extremely 

Position  befoee  Pkemy  Chapel. 

doubtful  whether  Premy  Chapel  could  have  been  taken. 
For  the  apex  of  the  division  to  have  reached  the  point  it 
did  was  a  feat  of  which  it  could  be  proud.  We  have  laid 
more  stress  on  the  point  than  its  importance  deserves, 
but  the  inability  to  get  the  artillery  on  to  Premy  Chapel 
raised  a  certain  amount  of  controversy  at  the  time,  and, 
as  the  Commanding  Officer  truly  remarked  a  day  or  two 
later,  "  Your  temper  cannot  be  expected  to  be  good  when 
you  are  being  shot  at  from  front  and  behind  !  " 

256  THE  HINDENBURG  LINE      [Chap.  XVII 

The  holding  by  the  Guards  Division  of  such  a  terrific 
flank  after  storming  the  Hindenburg  Line  was  a  wonder- 
ful performance. 

Fox-Pitt  and  Willoughby  were  wounded,  and  eighty- 
seven  other  ranks  killed  and  wounded. 



The  piercing  of  the  Hindenburg  Line  completed  the  first 
phase  of  the  great  battle — for  it  must  be  considered  as 
one  battle,  wherein  the  might  of  Germany  was  drawn  up 
from  the  sea  to  Switzerland,  and  facing  it  was  the  might 
of  France,  Britain,  and  a  strong  but  not  a  full-strength 
army  of  America. 

Co-operating  with  the  advance  of  the  First,  Third  and 
Fourth  Armies  were  the  French  and  American  Armies 
in  the  south,  and  an  Allied  Force  of  British,  Belgian  and 
French,  under  the  King  of  the  Belgians,  in  the  north. 
The  attack  in  the  north  opened  on  September  28th,  the 
XIX  and  II  Corps  of  the  Second  Army  attacking  on  a 
four-and-a-half  mile  front  south  of  the  Ypres — Zonnebeke 
Road,  with  the  Belgians  on  their  left  as  far  as  Dixmude. 
At  the  end  of  the  day  the  British  had  reached  Kortiwilde, 
Zand  Voorde,  Kruiseecke,  and  Becelaere,  far  beyond  the 
limits  of  the  1917  advance  ;  and  the  Belgians  Zonnebeke, 
Poelcapelle,  and  Schaap  Baillie,  and  had  cleared  the 
enemy  from  Houlthulst.  The  Lys  front  was  again  the 
scene  of  rapid  enemy  withdrawals. 

The  Hindenburg  Line  was  the  last  and  strongest  of 
the  enemy  prepared  positions.  From  the  point  of  his 
farthest  advance  in  the  spring  of  1918  to  the  Hindenburg 
Line  the  whole  country  was  cut  and  recut  by  lines  of 
trenches  and  dotted  with  strong  points  built  by  both 
sides.  Between  the  trenches  a  growth  of  wild  vegetation 
concealed  a  mass  of  shell-holes  and  barbed  wire.  Roads, 
bridges  and  railways  had  been  blown  up.  The  whole 
presented  such  an  obstacle  as  could  only  be  overcome 


258  BRIG.-GEN.   FOLLETT        [Chap.  XVIII 

step  by  step.  Generally  speaking,  from  the  Hindenburg 
Line  onwards,  fighting  was  of  the  open-country  order, 
where  woods,  rivers  and  a  few  hastily-dug  defences  were 
the  only  obstacles. 

When  speaking  of  woods,  rivers  and  a  few  trenches  as 
the  only  obstacles  we  must  qualify  that  statement,  and 
confine  it  to  obstacles  which  the  fighting  troops  had  to 
meet.  There  was  another  kind,  and  the  most  difficult 
to  I  surmount  of  all — the  roads  and  railways.  Whatever 
may  be  said  of  the  handling  of  enemy  troops  in  this 
retreat  there  is  no  doubt  that  his  arrangements  for 
destroying  roads  and  railways  were  excellent,  and  time 
after  time  a  halt  had  to  be  called  lest  assaulting  troops 
out-distanced  their  supplies. 

The  second  phase  of  the  offensive,  so  far  as  the  Third 
Army  was  concerned,  started  on  October  8th. 

The  3rd  Guards  Brigade  was  now  under  Brig.-Gen. 
Hay  ward,  for  we  have  to  record  the  death  of  Gen.  Follett 
on  the  27th  from  a  bullet  which  struck  him  down  soon 
after  the  battalion  had  crossed  the  canal.  He  was  a 
good  friend  of  the  battalion,  hard-working  himself,  and 
considerate  for  others.  As  a  soldier  he  was  very  sound, 
with  long  experience  with  his  battalion  before  he  was 
promoted  to  the  brigade.  When  he  approached  Com- 
pany Officers  he  knew  what  he  was  talking  about,  and 
what  they  were  talking  about,  two  points  greatly  appre- 
ciated by  those  concerned.  He  was,  too,  a  charming, 
kind-hearted  man.  Everyone  who  knew  him  felt  his 
loss  deeply. 

Of  all  the  energetic  brigadiers  the  battalion  served 
under  Gen.  Hayward  was  the  worst,  or  the  best.  The 
moment  he  arrived  he  started  overhauling  the  organisa- 
tion of  battalions.  The  battalion  remained  by  the  side 
of  the  canal,  living — 

"  In  holes  in  the  ground  with  bits  of  tin  over  them. 
For  miles  there  is  not  a  house,  a  barn,  a  roof  of  any  kind. 
Piles  of  crumbling  brick,  mostly  battered  to  dust,  mark 
the  spots  where  villages  once  stood.  There  is  no  sign  of 
cultivation — just  waste — rusty  shells  that  have  not  gone 

Oct.  1918]  ORGANISATION  259 

off,  bits  of  others  that  have,  and  confused  heaps  of  some 
that  have  not  been  used  ;  then  rusty  barbed  wire,  bits 
of  clothes,  boots,  broken  rifles,  bayonets,  scabbards,  old 
rusty  bombs,  caps,  steel  helmets,  dead  horses,  mounds 
with  little  tumbledown  crosses,  old,  half-fallen-in 
trenches,  paper,  rags,  and  over  it  all — to-night— the 
most  glorious  sunset." — Diary,  C.  H.  D.  W.,  October  3rd. 

Reinforcements  had  ceased  and  it  was  necessary  to 
husband  the  men  battalions  possessed.  Instructions  of 
a  minute  character  had  been  issued,  but  there  had  always 
been  given  a  certain  latitude  in  their  observance  ;  also 
the  strength  of  the  battalions  had  fallen  to  such  a  low 
state  that  it  was  impossible  to  carry  them  out  to  the 
letter.  These  instructions  laid  down  definite  numbers — 
that  is,  a  minimum  for  Battalion  H.Q.  for  companies  and 
for  details;  but,  as  the  total  strength  of  the  battalion 
was  below  the  minimum  laid  down,  the  question  of 
organisation  raised  much  discussion. 

The  first  point  insisted  on  was  that  there  should  never 
be  less  than  10  officers  and  50  other  ranks  at  "  Details  " 
or  "  Reinforcements,''  and  that  figure  was  strictly 
adhered  to  as  regards  the  N.C.O.'s  and  men.  Then  came 
the  knotty  problem  of  headquarters,  divided  into  a 
fighting  portion  of  70  and  an  administrative  portion  of 
66 — the  fighting  portion  never  reached  70,  and  the  ad- 
ministrative was  generally  over  66.  Companies  were  cut 
down  to  three  platoons.  The  fighting  portion  of  Company 
H.Q.  was  laid  down  as  nineteen,  but,  as  it  included  five 
signallers,  who  could  not  be  made  up  also,  two  scouts 
and  two  sanitary  men,  a  Lewis  Gun  was  generally  taken 
into  the  battle,  was  manned  by  so-called  scouts  and 
sanitary  men  and  signallers,  and  Company  H.Q.  became 
in  effect  a  fourth  platoon.  This  pamphlet  of  instruction 
w^as  an  admirable  thing,  provided  battalions  had  a  mini- 
mum available  strength  of  642  to  go  into  battle.  But 
such  numbers  were  not  available  at  that  time. 

The  question  of  a  battalion  strength  was  always  wrapt 
in  mystery.  We  have  before  us  a  return  of  strength  in 
October  which  shows  on  that  particular  day  a  total 

260  THE  ADVANCE  [Chap.  XVIII 

strength  of  715,  and  yet  the  fighting  strength,  as  under- 
stood by  regimental  officers,  i.e.  the  number  of  men  who 
marched  into  battle,  was  399,  including  Battalion  H.Q. 
Such  headings  as  "  employed  ''  (at  Division  and  Brigade 
H.Q.), "  courses,"  "  leave,''  and  "  sick  "  account  for  104  ; 
at  Details  there  were  72  (including  the  drums) ;  the 
transport  had  then  sunk  to  60  (including  the  quarter- 
master and  his  administrative  people).  It  was  said  at 
the  time  that  everyone  knew  it  was  impossible  to  put  a 
quart  into  a  pint  pot,  and  it  should  be  equally  obvious 
that  a  pint  would  never  fill  a  quart  pot. 

The  Commanding  Officer  spent  hours  over  the  organi- 
sation of  the  battalion,  and  ended  with  a  sigh  and  the 
philosophical  remark,  "  No  one  will  ever  parade  the 
battalion  in  the  middle  of  a  battle,  so  it  really  does  not 

While  the  battalion  rested  on  the  canal  bank  it  was 
visited  nearly  every  night  by  enemy  aeroplanes  which 
dropped  bombs  along  the  line  of  the  canal;  but  there 
was  very  little  shelling  from  long-range  guns.  Baths 
were  fixed  at  Doignies,  not  far  from  Bonsor's  transport 
lines.  And  on  the  whole  the  weather  was  fine,  so  the 
rest  was  real. 

On  the  7th  the  battalion  marched  to  Flesquieres  and 
then  to  Masnieres. 


"  We  are  oil  again  to  finish  the  war.  We  moved  at 
5.30  p.m.  and  are  billeted  in  Flesquieres,  which  is  shelled 
at  regular  intervals.  Dick  Ball  worried  a  good  deal 
about  his  horse  w^hen  we  arrived,  and  we  searched  every- 
where for  a  sheltered  place  for  him,  but  in  the  end  he 
had  to  be  put  with  the  others.  Horses  are  getting  valu- 
able, and  this  one  is  as  the  apple  of  Ball's  eye. 

"  The  news  to-day  is  scarce,  but  rumours  are  good. 
The  latest  is  that  the  Boche  Allies  have  asked  for  an 
Armistice !  As  a  shell  has  just  pitched  within  a  few 
yards,  it  seems  too  good  to  be  true,  and  to-night  as  we 
rode  forward  in  the  dusk  we  could  see  Cambrai  burning — 
not  very  like  an  Armistice.  But  something  is  going 
wrong  with  the  Hun. 

Oct.  1918]  MASNIERES  261 

"  October  8th. — Occasional  shelling  throughout  the 
night  which  did  no  harm,  but  one  of  those  odd  things 
happened  which  make  one  believe  in  luck — one  of  the 
men  died  in  his  sleep  !  '  Heart/  so  Pills  says.  (Lieut. 
Fuoss.    Rowlette  had  gone  home  sick  from  Arras.) 

"  The  leading  division  attacked  this  morning  at  4.30 
a.m.  and  the  first  lot  of  prisoners  came  through  about 
9  a.m. — they  were  the  usual  wretched,  pale-faced  lot. 
Attacks  and  counter-attacks  seem  to  go  on  all  day.  Early 
in  the  proceedings  we  were  at  one  hour's  notice  to  move, 
and  started  off  at  4  p.m. 

"  The  traffic  along  the  roads  on  these  occasions  is 
enormous — one  long  column  fills  the  road.  I  suppose  we 
marched  about  three  miles,  when  we  halted  on  a  message 
that  plans  had  been  changed.  The  Huns  shelled  us  and 
the  village  in  front  at  that  moment,  so  Ball  left  me  and 
the  transport  to  settle  down  where  we  could  and  went 
off  with  the  battalion.  We  succeeded  in  finding  a  Hun 
dugout  and  were  quite  comfortable.  The  division  at- 
tacks to-morrow  morning  at  dawn — our  brigade  is  in 

"  Our  deep  dugout  kept  us  away  from  draughts,  but 
in  a  thick  fug.  In  the  morning  Bob  Bonsor  and  I  started 
off  with  the  limbers  about  five — no  need  to  be  called,  as 
the  air  was  stifling  and  I  could  not  sleep.  The  barrage 
for  the  1st  and  2nd  Brigades  attack  started  at  5.20  a.m. 
and  was  pretty  heavy.  The  morning  was  bright  and 
with  a  white  frost.  On  the  way  we  met  Crawley  de 
Crespigny  (1st  Brigade)  moving  up,  and  he  told  us  he 
had  attacked  from  the  Red  Line,  as  the  farther  one — 
where  he  should  have  been — Green — had  not  been  taken 

"  We  found  Dick  Ball  having  breakfast  and  in  very 
gay  mood.  He  and  his  headquarters  had  slept  in  a  door- 
less  and  windowless  ruin— with  a  few  extra  holes  in  it 
as  well.  I  had  some  coffee  as  he  ate  breakfast.  Percy 
Battye  came  in  to  see  us — he  and  his  company  had  slept 
in  some  trenches  and  were  fairly  cold.  After  we  had 
talked  for  a  while  a  message  came  that  the  battalion  must 
be  ready  to  move  at  half  an  hour's  notice.    I  went  to 

262  THE  ADVANCE  [Chap.  XVI]  I 

join  the  transport,  and  by  ill  luck  ran  into  the  new  briga- 
dier, who  began  to  ask  questions  about  where  I  was 
staying,  and  eventually  insisted  on  my  going  back  to 
Details.  So  Ellis,  Bonn  and  I  returned^ as  they  were 
being  left  out  this  time — to  a  wretched  hole  called 
Labucqui^res,  about  twenty  miles  away." — Diary, 
C.  H.  D,  W. 

The  battalion  moved  at  10.45  a.m.  and  marched  to 
Seranvillers,  where  a  halt  was  made  for  the  night. 

French  troops  were  attacking  from  St.  Quentin  to 
Sequehart,  and  the  Fourth  and  Third  British  Armies  from 
thence  to  Cambrai.  Considerable  resistance  was  met 
with  at  the  opening  of  the  attack,  but  on  the  9th  the 
enemy  were  driven  back  rapidly.  Farther  south  on  this 
same  day,  October  8th,  French  and  American  troops 
made  great  progress  east  of  the  Meuse  and  in  Champagne. 

On  the  10th  the  pursuit  still  continued,  and  the 
battalion,  still  in  reserve  to  the  division,  marched  to 
Estourmel.  After  attending  a  brigade  conference  the 
Commanding  Officer  announced  that  the  battalion  would 
again  move  at  2  a.m.  on  the  11th.  The  afternoon  was 
spent  by  the  Commanding  Officer  and  Company  Com- 
manders reconnoitring  the  road,  and  at  10  p.m.  orders 
were  received  ^  that  the  3rd  Guards  Brigade  would  pass 
through  the  Outpost  Line  held  by  the  1st  and  2nd  Bri- 
gades and  continue  the  advance  on  a  three -battalion 
frontage — 1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  on  the  right, 
2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  in  the  centre,  and  the  Welsh 
Guards  on  the  left — each  battalion  would  advance  on  a 
two-company  frontage.  One  battery  E.F.A.  would  act 
in  close  co-operation  with  each  battalion,  also  one  section 
of  the  Machine  Gun  Company  and  two  guns  from  the 
Trench  Mortar  Company. 

At  1  a.m.  the  battalion  moved.  The  early  morning 
was  quite  quiet,  and  the  forming-up  position,  a  road 
some  800  yards  to  the  west  of  St.  Hilaire,  was  reached 
without  incident. 

The  Commanding  Officer's  account  of  the  events  which 

^  Appendix  B  15. 

Oct.  1918]  ST.   VAAST  263 

followed  is  amusing,  and  shows  an  amount  of  peevishness 
which  was  perhaps  excusable.  He  says  the  "  Artillery 
Liaison  Officers  and  the  machine-gun  officer  should  have 
reported  at  this  time,  but  did  not  do  so — the  officer  in 
charge  of  trench-mortars  reported  but  had  left  his  guns 
at  Boussieres !  " 

The  battalion,  with  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company 
(under  Goetz)  on  the  right.  No.  4  (Percy  Battye)  on  the 
left.  No.  2  (Coleman)  in  support,  and  No.  3  (Gwynne 
Jones)  in  reserve,  passed  through  the  Outpost  Line  at 
5  a.m.  The  companies  passed  to  the  north  of  St.  Hilaire 
and  over  a  ridge  which  separated  them  from  St.  Vaast. 
Although  it  was  not  light  the  enemy  was  watchful  and 
alert,  and  as  troops  began  to  descend  into  the  valley  they 
came  under  heavy  machine  gun  and  artillery  fire.  The 
enemy  revealed  himself  holding  a  line  along  the  railway 
to  the  north  of  St.  Vaast. 

All  companies  deployed,  and  the  Prince  of  Wales's 
Company  worked  to  the  south-east  to  get  round  St.  Vaast, 
while  No.  4  advanced  slowly  towards  the  cross-roads  on 
the  west  of  the  village.  As  the  light  improved  machine- 
gun  fire  became  more  accurate,  and  the  advance  could 
only  be  carried  on  by  small  parties  taking  advantage  of 
every  bit  of  cover.  A  cavalry  patrol  rendered  great 
assistance  to  No.  4  Company  by  moving  rapidly  down 
the  valley  with  such  determination  that  it  actually 
reached  the  first  houses  of  the  village.  Taking  advantage 
of  this  diversion,  No.  4  reached  the  road  on  the  west  side 
of  St.  Vaast. 

All  reports  were  to  the  effect  that  the  railway  and  a 
malthouse  to  the  north-west  of  the  village  were  strongly 
held,  and  the  machine-gun  fire  from  these  points  was  very 
heavy.  Neither  artillery  nor  trench-mortars  were  avail- 
able to  help  companies  by  moving  the  enemy  machine 
gunners,  and  the  division  on  the  left  had  failed  to  ad- 
vance, so  that  there  was  a  gap  of  over  a  thousand  yards 
on  the  left  of  No.  4. 

By  7  a.m.  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  had  worked 
round  to  the  east  of  St.  Vaast,  and  a  platoon  of  No.  2 
Company  entered  the  village,  where  they  captured  a 


264  THE  ADVANCE  [Chap.  XVIII 

number  of  prisoners.  But  the  railway  banlc,  with  a 
number  of  sidings  at  a  detraining  point  to  the  north-east, 
was  a  formidable  obstacle,  and  strongly  held,  and  the 
Scots  Guards  on  the  right  had  met  with  considerable 
resistance,  so  could  give  no  effective  aid ;  in  view  of  the 
situation  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  decided  to 
dig  in. 

About  9.30  a.m.  a  second  cavalry  patrol  tried  to  repeat 
the  manoeuvre  of  earlier  in  the  morning  by  passing  round 
the  south  of  the  village,  but  machine-gun  fire  was  now 
very  accurate,  and  they  had  to  retire. 

And  so  the  situation  remained  until  10.30  a.m.  when, 
to  the  relief  of  the  Commanding  Officer  and  all  concerned, 
the  artillery  battery  arrived  and  opened  on  the  railway. 
No.  4  and  No.  2  Companies  were  then  able  to  advance 
and  complete  the  line  on  the  far  side  of  St.  Vaast. 

Any  further  advance  with  the  enemy  holding  St. 
Aubert  was  out  of  the  question.  The  Commanding 
Officer  of  the  3rd  Battalion  London  Rifle  Brigade  pro- 
posed to  attack  St.  Aubert  from  the  south,  and  sent  an 
officer  to  arrange  how  the  Welsh  Guards  could  best  assist 
them.  Col.  Luxmoore  Ball,  while  promising  all  help 
with  covering  fire,  expressed  the  opinion  that  such  an 
attack  would  be  courting  disaster.  This  message  brought 
up  Gen.  Hayward  with  the  Commanding  Officer  of  the 
London  Rifle  Brigade  Battalion,  and  they  agreed  that 
some  other  solution  should  be  tried. 
A  caustic  note  by  the  Commanding  Officer  reads  : 

"  About  this  time  hostile  machine-gun  and  shell  fire 
on  our  leading  troops  was  greatly  assisted  by  our  corps 
heavies,  who  commenced  to  shell  our  support  and  reserve 
companies  heavily.  The  enemy  also  gassed  the  valley 
and  the  village.'' 

During  the  night  repeated  patrols  were  sent  out  under 
Powell,  Foot,  Adams  and  Wiseman,  but  in  each  case  they 
found  the  enemy  still  holding  the  line  of  the  railway. 
About  eight  in  the  morning,  however,  an  aeroplane  re- 



Oct.  1918]  ST.   VAAST  265 

ported  that  St.  Aubert  did  not  appear  to  be  occupied, 
and  a  patrol  was  again  sent  out,  to  find  that  the  enemy 
had  retired  from  the  railway,  but  the  Prince  of  Wales's 
Company  reported  them  on  the  ridge  "  Arbre  de  la 

The  XVII  Corps  on  the  left  then  began  to  move,  and 
at  3  p.m.,  after  a  preparatory  bombardment,  the  battalion 
occupied  the  "  Arbre  de  la  Femme  "  ridge.  Patrols  in 
advance  reported  that  the  enemy  was  holding  the  east 
of  the  river  Selle  in  force. 

At  midnight  Battye  took  No.  4  Company  forward,  with 
Watson  and  his  platoon  in  advance.  Watson  encoun- 
tered an  enemy  patrol  of  six  men  near  the  river,  and 
succeeded  in  killing  three — the  rest  escaped.  A  light 
bridge  had  been  provided,  and  Battye's  orders  were  to 
place  it  across  the  river ;  but  he  found  that  the  river  was 
some  twenty  feet  wide  and  the  bridge  only  sixteen  ; 
there  was,  however,  an  enemy  bridge  in  good  condition. 
He  also  found  that  the  river  was  fordable. 

Just  before  daybreak  he  passed  half  his  company  to 
the  eastern  bank,  and  for  some  time  the  enemy  did  not 
discover  their  presence.  Later  in  the  morning  machine- 
gun  fire  and  shelling  became  so  bad  he  withdrew  them 
to  a  more  favourable  position  on  the  western  bank.  But 
he  established  the  fact  that  the  enemy  held  a  sunken 
road  half-way  up  the  opposite  ridge,  and  that  he  was 
holding  the  crest  of  the  ridge  strongly ;  also  that  there 
was  a  considerable  force  in  Haussey.  He  himself  was 
slightly  wounded  and  gassed  and  went  down  to  the 

On  the  night  of  the  13th  the  battalion  was  relieved  by 
the  1st  Battalion  Scots  Guards  and  marched  back  to 
St.  Hilaire. 

Considering  that  the  country  was  most  favourable  to 
the  enemy,  the  battalion  did  not  suffer  heavy  loss.  Of 
officers,  Battye,  Fleming,  Holdsworth  and  Adams  were 
wounded,  and  the  casualties  among  the  men  were  thirty- 
seven.  All  the  usual  difficulties  of  an  exposed  flank  were 
encountered.  But  the  enemy  resistance  stiffened  every- 
where as  he  crossed  the  Selle,  and  to  have  a  flank  in  the 

266  THE  ADVANCE  [Chap.  XVIII 

air  was  by  no  means  a  new  situation  for  tlie  Welsh 

To  advance  in  this  open  country  in  the  face  of  oppo- 
sition required  not  only  courage  but  initiative  on  the 
part  of  N.C.O.'s.  and  men.  153  Cpl.  P.  Jones,  776  Cpl.  G. 
Winter,  2,478  L/Cpl.  E.  Boyle,  2,708  L/Cpl.  T.  M.  Jones, 
1,010  L/Cpl.  F.  Cosford,  Ptes.  1,972  W.  A.  Harris,  872  E. 
Gordon,  2,881  J.  E.  Vaughan,  1,522  E.  Roberts,  2,251 

D.  0.  Jones,  2,763  T.  D.  Clancy,  2,627  E.  L.  Jones,  3,417 

E.  R.  Owen,  3,850  W.  Garnett,  263  H.  J.  Matthew,  1,254 
S.  T.  Baldwin,  were  conspicuous  in  these  qualities. 

On  the  17th  the  battalion  moved  to  Carnieres  for  a 
short  rest.  On  the  19th  the  division  was  ordered  to 
attack  at  2  p.m.  on  the  20th — 1st  Guards  Brigade  on  the 
right,  3rd  on  the  left  and  2nd  in  reserve.  Of  the  3rd 
Brigade  the  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  would  open 
the  attack  and  capture  the  first  objective ;  the  Welsh 
Guards  on  the  right,  and  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards 
on  the  left,  would  then  pass  through  the  Grenadier 
Guards  and  capture  and  consolidate  on  the  final  objec- 
tive, which  was  the  ridge  commanding  the  Harpies  River. 

The  Commanding  Officer  went  on  leave  and  the  bat- 
talion was  taken  into  action  by  the  second  in  command. 

"  On  the  19th  Details  were  in  process  of  moving  from 
the  unspeakable  hole  of  Labucquieres,  in  fact,  L.  F.  Ellis 
had  already  gone  with  half,  when  about  three  in  the  after- 
noon a  note  was  brought  me  from  Guy  Darrell  to  say  I 
was  to  get  ready  to  join  the  battalion  at  once.  This  was 
followed  in  a  few  minutes  by  Guy  himself,  who  told  me 
Dick  Ball  was  going  on  leave,  and  that  I  was  to  take 
over  command.  I  said, '  This  is  all  very  well,  but  I  hear 
there  is  to  be  a  battle  to-night !  '  Guy  mumbled  that 
he  would  tell  me  all  about  it  later,  and  was  so  obviously 
discreet  I  thought  something  had  happened.  In  due 
course  we  left  in  the  motor,  and  I  found  he  could  tell 
me  very  little.  He  said  the  attack  had  been  decided  on 
very  hurriedly,  and  that  there  was  no  word  of  Ball 
leaving  till  that  morning,  the  19th.  He  knew  nothing 
of  the  arrangements. 

Oct.  1918]  THE  RIVER   SELLE  267 

"  He  dropped  me  at  St.  Hilaire  at  5  p.m.  where  I  found 
Dick  Ball,  who  was  able  to  give  me  half  an  hour  before 
going  to  catch  his  train.  It  was  to  be  a  night  attack 
over  ground  which  no  one  had  seen,  except  Batty e,  for 
the  space  of  an  hour  or  so,  and  he  (Ball)  had  done  all  he 
could  to  prepare  the  battalion.  It  appears  he  was  only 
told  that  morning  he  was  to  be  left  out,  and  rather  than 
go  back  to  the  Details  he  applied  for  special  leave.  The 
thing  was  not  his  fault.  Tiny  Buchanan  then  came  to 
fetch  him  with  a  car,  and  said  how  sorry  he  was  I  had 
such  short  notice — and  so  they  both  left. 

"  I  was  without  a  map.  I  knew  I  was  at  a  place  called 
St.  Hilaire,  but  had  no  idea  where  the  battalion  was,  but 
a  guide  was  to  fetch  me.  Willie  Arthur  was  there  and 
talked  of  places  I  had  never  heard  of — he  also  had  no 
map  and  w^as  staying  with  the  transport — and  he  could 
tell  me  nothing  about  the  orders  of  attack  except  that 
he  thought  it  started  at  2  a.m.,  and  that  the  battalion 
would  have  to  move  about  10  p.m.  Finally  the  guide 
arrived  and  I  reached  the  battalion  at  St.  Vaast  about 
8.30  p.m. 

"  Had  some  dinner  and  Company  Commanders  to  see 
me  and  tell  me  what  they  had  been  ordered  to  do — Devas 
had  not  even  got  a  copy  of  brigade  orders,  which  ap- 
parently Dick  Ball  had  taken  with  him,  so  that  at 
the  moment  I  was,  as  Humphrey  Dene  would  say,  *  a 
wooden  man.^ ' 

"  The  battalion  marched  at  10.50  p.m.  in  drizzling 
rain,  through  which  an  invisible  moon  gave  a  faint  light. 
All  was  very  quiet,  and  only  the  Hun  shelled  some  cross- 
roads with  one  long-range  gun.  We  reached  the  first 
assembly  place  just  before  midnight,  on  the  road  from 
St.  Vaast  to  Haussy  and  about  midway  between  the 
villages.  I  put  the  battalion  on  the  right  of  the  road  in 
the  order  of  advance — Bonn  (No.  2)  on  the  right,  and 
Gwynne  Jones  (No.  3)  on  his  left ;  Ronnie  Goetz  (P.  of 
W.)  behind  Bonn,  and  Coleman  (No.  4)  behind  Gwynne 
Jones  ;  headquarters  in  rear. 

1  Appendix  B  16. 

268  THE  ADVANCE  [Chap.  XVIII 

"  Jack  Stirling  arrived  and  put  his  battalion  on  the 
left  of  the  road. 

"  The  battle  was  to  start  at  2  a.m.  with  the  Grenadiers 
in  front  (they  were  already  on  their  jumping-off  place, 
which  was  a  railway  cutting),  and  they  were  to  cross  the 
railway  at  2.10  a.m.  There  was  only  one  order  for  me 
to  give,  and  that  was  the  time  we  should  leave  our 
assembly  place.  Settled  this  for  1  a.m.  Jack  Stirling 
put  his  starting  time  back  a  quarter  of  an  hour  to  agree 
with  me,  and  we  set  our  watches. 

"  At  ten  minutes  to  two  the  leading  companies  arrived 
at  a  spot  about  300  yards  behind  the  railway  ;  my  in- 
structions were  that  they  should  move  from  there  at 
2.5  a.m. 

"  The  very  devil  of  a  shoot  started  at  two,  and  as  I, 
with  headquarters, found  myself  a  couple  of  hundred  yards 
in  front  of  a  line  of  field-guns,  it  was  most  unpleasant. 

"  As  to  my  command  there  seemed  to  be  nothing  to 
command,  I  could  see  no  one  and  could  not  go  to  them — 
in  fact  one's  interest  seemed  to  slip  away  in  a  curious 
fashion.  Vaguely  I  wondered  if  the  leading  companies 
had  crossed  the  railway.  After  crossing  the  railway  they 
would  have  to  cross  the  river  Selle,  which  would  take 
some  time — so  we  sat  on  the  side  of  a  trench  and  waited 
till  2.30  a.m. 

"  By  that  time  I  thought  we  might  as  well  be  moving. 
The  barrage  was  still  going  on  in  a  furious  fashion,  and 
old  Geof .  Devas  and  I  stumbled  over  coarse  grass  clumps 
and  into  shell-holes,  followed  by  young  Evans  and  head- 
quarters. My  old  friend  Sergt.  Mathias  was  doing 
sergeant-major,  and  was  full  of  his  usual  quips. 

"  When  we  reached  the  railway  we  found  Coleman 
climbing  out  of  the  cutting,  and  he  told  me  Goetz's  last 
platoon  had  just  gone.  There  was  no  Hun  shelling  at 
all — nothing  to  disturb  us  but  the  noise  of  our  own 
18-pounders,  and  rain. 

"  The  Grenadiers  were  to  take  a  sunken  road  and  stop. 
We  were  to  go  through  them  and  continue  advancing  to 
a  ridge  overlooking  another  stream.  By  the  time  Cole- 
man had  his  first  platoon  across  the  Selle  it  was  a  quarter 

Oct.  1918]  THE   RIVER   SELLE  269 

to  three,  and  the  Grenadiers  were  timed  to  reach  the  road 
at  3.10.  It  was  some  way  off,  and  I  felt  a  bit  anxious 
about  companies  getting  lost,  so  went  ahead  with  Devas 
and  three  orderlies.  Crossing  a  river  is  a  slow  business  ; 
those  who  have  crossed  always  hurry  on,  and  so  the 
whole  force  gets  scattered.  The  ground  was  fearfully 
heavy,  all  plough  and  uphill  from  the  river.  Devas  and 
I  were  wet  through  with  heat  and  rain  before  we  caught 
Coleman's  first  platoon.  I  halted  them  and  told  them 
to  wait  for  the  rest  of  the  company,  and  then  chased  after 
Goetz.  He  had  no  notion  where  he  was,  and  could  only 
say  he  was  sure  the  other  companies  '  were  in  front.'  I 
was  certain  he  was  too  far  to  the  left,  but  it  was  no  use 
trying  to  correct  him  till  we  had  found  the  other  com- 
panies. Eventually  we  came  across  some  Scots  Guards 
and  I  knew  I  was  right,  as  they  were  supposed  to  be  on 
our  left.  We  made  a  cast  to  the  right  and  found  the 
sunken  road,  but  no  sign  of  the  Grenadiers.  Chased  still 
farther  to  the  right,  and  met  someone  brandishing  a  re- 
volver, who  said  he  was  a  Grenadier.  Then  we  found 
Gwynne  Jones  and  Bonn,  and  Goetz  was  sent  back  to 
bring  up  his  company  and  correct  the  direction  of  the 
reserve  company. 

"  Walter  Bonn  was  very  worried  by  not  finding  any- 
one on  his  right — the  Irish  should  have  been  there.  I 
told  him  to  carry  on  and  I  would  see  to  his  flank  by 
means  of  Goetz.  Gwynne  Jones  and  Bonn  then  started 
after  the  barrage,  which  was  about  seventy  yards  in  front 
of  them. 

"  When  Goetz  arrived  I  sent  him  echeloned  to  the  right 
in  rear  of  Bonn.  Coleman  I  kept  with  me  behind  the 
road.  Meanwhile  I  got  in  touch  with  Jack  Stirling,  who 
was  too  far  to  the  left,  and  also  asked  Bill  Bailey  to  send 
some  of  his  Grenadiers  out  to  the  right  and  try  to  get  in 
touch  with  the  Irish. 

"  The  next  thing  was  a  message  from  Bonn  that  he 
was  held  up  by  machine-gun  fire — and  a  similar  one  from 
Jones.  Went  with  Goetz  to  see  Bonn  and  found  him 
digging  in  a  ploughed  field.  It  was  about  4.30  and  the 
light  very  bad — thick  misty  rain.    You  could  see  very 

270  THE  ADVANCE  [Chap.  XVIII 

dimly  the  tree-tops  of  an  avenue.  It  appeared  that  the 
enemy  could  see  us,  as  we  were  fired  at  as  we  walked 
about.  Bonn  said  there  were  three  or  four  guns  in  front 
of  him — all  I  could  make  out  was  that  the  ground  in  front 
was  very  flat  and  exposed — but  he  said  he  had  sent  a 
message  to  the  Scots  Guards  to  try  and  work  forward  on 
his  left.  I  hesitated  to  order  him  forward,  as  if  he  was 
right  there  was  little  chance  of  doing  any  good,  and  yet 
we,  as  we  moved  about,  had  only  drawn  rifle  fire.  I 
decided  to  try  a  sweep  round  to  the  right,  and  sent  Goetz 
back  to  instruct  one  of  his  platoons;  but  I  was  still 
uncertain  until  we  walked  to  the  left  of  Bonn's  line,  when 
a  machine  gun  ripped  out  from  a  house  one  could  just 
see  on  the  left. 

"  Went  back  and  got  Jack  Stirling  on  the  wire.  He 
told  me  he  had  reached  his  objective  on  the  left,  but  that 
his  right  was  stuck,  and  could  I  shift  the  Hun  from  the 
house  ?  He  seemed  a  bit  annoyed  and  peevish  about 
something,  and  indeed  the  impression  I  had  was  that 
the  attack  was  sticky  for  no  very  great  reason.  How- 
ever, I  told  him  what  I  was  doing,  and  that  if  he  could 
help  I  would  tell  Gwynne  Jones  to  try  and  work  round 
the  house.  He  said  he  had  some  trench-mortars  and 
would  use  them. 

"  Went  off  again  to  see  Gwynne  Jones,  but  before  I 
had  gone  very  far  saw  little  groups  of  men  advancing 
from  his  company.  Bonn's  company  then  started  to 
advance  and,  it  being  lighter,  I  could  see  a  few  Huns 
running  from  the  line  of  trees.  About  that  time  Coleman 
reported  that  he  had  found  the  Irish  Guards  about  1,000 
yards  on  our  right,  and  that  they  were  going  forward 
rapidly.  I  then  got  the  whole  battalion  moving,  and 
we  advanced  with  only  a  few  shots  against  us  to  the  far 

"  Coleman's  company  caught  some  Huns  with  Red 
Cross  armlets,  and  in  possession  of  a  machine  gun — they 
killed  them  all — but  they  took  some  twenty  prisoners  in 
other  places. 

"  The  right  still  seemed  to  me  in  a  funny  state,  but  I 
told  Bonn  to  dig  in  and  send  forward  a  patrol  at  once. 

Oct.  1918]  THE  RIVEfl  SELLE  271 

Two  machine  guns  fired  at  us  intermittently,  which  was 
not  astonishing,  as  we  all  stood  about  on  the  sky-line. 
Put  Goetz  in  position  in  support  and  Coleman  in  reserve, 
then  returned  to  the  sunken  road." — Diary,  C.  H.  D.  W. 

This  night  attack  was  quite  a  big  affair,  being  carried 
out  by  the  38th,  17th,  5th,  42nd,  62nd,  Guards,  and  19th 
Divisions  of  the  Third  Army,  and  the  4th  Division  of  the 
First  Army.  On  some  parts  of  the  front  tanks  were 
used,  and  stout  resistance  had  to  be  overcome.  On  the 
Guards  Division  front,  except  for  the  anxiety  natural  to 
an  appreciable  advance  in  the  dark,  there  was  really  little 
resistance,  and  nothing  in  the  nature  of  real  fighting  ;  the 
enemy  merely  retired  to  the  heights  on  the  far  side  of 
the  river  Harpies. 

The  patrol  which  Bonn  sent  to  reconnoitre  the  river 
was  under  Stanier,  who  had  every  man  hit  and  a  bullet 
through  his  steel  helmet  before  he  returned.  He  showed 
great  tenacity  of  purpose,  measured  the  depth  and  width 
of  the  stream  and  took  notes  of  wire  on  the  opposite 
bank,  and  succeeded  in  getting  all  his  men  back — a 
very  creditable  performance. 

All  through  the  day  the  enemy  shelled  the  area  be- 
tween the  two  rivers  heavily,  and  used  a  lot  of  gas. 
During  the  night  of  the  20/2 1st  Coleman  took  No.  4 
Qompany  down  to  the  line  of  the  Harpies  River,  and 
established  posts  there,  otherwise  the  situation  remained 
the  same  until  the  battalion  was  relieved  on  the  night 
of  the  21st  and  marched  back  to  St.  Hilaire. 

The  total  casualties  in  this  advance  were  thirty. 

Since  passing  to  the  east  of  the  Hindenburg  defences 
a  rest  had  some  meaning  for  the  battalion.  Villages  had 
scarcely  been  touched  by  shell  fire — there  were  a  few 
houses  wrecked  in  each  one,  but  by  comparison  with  the 
devastated  area  they  seemed  in  good  repair — and  the 
men  had  billets  with  a  whole  roof,  and  a  board  floor  to 
sleep  on.  Dirt  and  filth  were  there  in  quantities,  but 
that  could  be  cleared  away.  St.  Hilaire  was  a  very  com- 
fortable little  village,  and  the  battalion  stayed  there 
until  November  2nd. 

272  ST.   HILAIRE  [Chap.  XVIII 

Training  for  tlie  attack  was  carried  on  witli  the  idea  of 
getting  round  strong  positions  held  with  few  troops ; 
and  there  was  the  usual  despair  in  the  battalion  over 
O.B.1919,  the  instructions  on  organisation. 

Gen.  Matheson  inspected  the  battalion  on  October 
26th,  drawn  up  according  to  the  pamphlet  O.B.1919,  and 
the  numbers  were :    Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  78 
No.  2  Company,  81  ;  No.  3  Company,  73  ;  No.  4  Com- 
pany, 93 ;  headquarters  (includes  stretcher-bearers),  50 
At  the  Details  were  31  ;  on  leave  and  employed  away,  69 

To  the  great  regret  of  the  battalion  the  Adjutant 
Geoffrey  Devas,  was  taken  on  the  staff  of  the  3rd  Guards 
Brigade.  He  had  carried  on  well  since  Perrins  left,  and 
during  the  very  worst  moments  his  cherub  face  never 
ceased  to  beam  with  good-nature  and  confidence.  Jack 
Crawshay  took  his  place. 



On  November  2nd  the  battalion  marched  to  Vertain. 
The  last  stage  of  the  battle  had  started,  and  on  the  line 
of  the  Fourth,  Third  and  First  Armies  opened  with  an 
attack  by  the  XVII  Corps,  of  the  Third  Army,  and  the 
XXII  and  Canadian  Corps,  of  the  First  Army,  at  5.15 
on  November  I  st .  After  two  days'  fighting  Valenciennes 
was  captured  and  a  more  general  advance  could  be  made. 
A  big  attack  was  launched  on  November  4th  by  the 
Fourth,  Third  and  First  Armies  on  a  thirty-mile  front. 
The  battalion  left  Vertain  on  November  3rd. 

"  November  2nd. — In  view  of  the  move  which  was  to 
take  place  '  after  dinners,'  the  battalion  did  nothing  this 
morning  beyond  get  ready.  At  12  o'clock  there  was  a 
conference  at  brigade,  and  the  Brigadier  explained  in  the 
loosest  way  the  plans,  for  there  are  two.  In  the  first 
plan  the  1st  and  2nd  Brigades  attack  to  a  depth  of  about 
three  miles,  and  we  go  through  them  and  carry  on  a 
further  three  or  four  miles.  The  second  plan  is  for 
the  1st  and  2nd  Brigades  to  go  for  seven  miles,  and  we 
go  on  from  there — very  ambitious.  Anyway,  we  were 
given  orders  to  move  forward  at  5  p.m.  to  Escarmain. 
It  seems  strange  to  come  out  of  the  line,  as  we  did  ten 
days  ago,  to  a  place  which  was  only  a  short  way  behind, 
and  within  that  short  space  of  time  find  yourself  so  far 
from  the  battle  front  that  you  can  march  eight  miles 
forward  and  still  be  about  five  miles  away  from  the  front 

"We  started  then  at  5  p.m.  and  proceeded  in  pitch 


274  THE  ADVANCE  [Chap.  XIX 

dark.  The  stillness  of  the  night  was  broken  by  the  sound 
of  music — brass  bands  and  bugle  bands — and  we  soon 
realised  we  were  not  the  only  people  marching  forward, 
but  that  there  were  troops  on  parallel  roads  right  and  left 
of  us.  It  is  more  cheering  than  the  approach  to  the 
Somme  battle  in  1916.  I  never  thought  we  should  march 
forward  with  bands ! 

After  two  and  a  half  hours  of  marching  we  reached 
a  village  (Vertain)  three  miles  from  our  destination,  and 
there  found  old  Courtney  in  a  state  of  physical  and 
mental  collapse.  He  had  been  arranging  billets  all  day, 
and  all  forward  villages  were  so  packed  with  troops  that 
there  was  no  room  for  us.  But  tents  had  been  pitched 
quite  close  to  where  we  were.  Switching  a  battalion  off 
the  line  of  march  at  night  when  it  is  marching  with  100 
yards'  interval  between  platoons,  and  in  the  midst  of 
countless  other  traffic,  is  dangerous  work.  In  the 
attempt  the  cookers  and  two  limbers  evaded  us  and  went 
wrong — they  turned  up,  however,  at  10.30  p.m. 

"  We  found  the  tents  pitched  on  muddy  ground,  but, 
thank  goodness,  a  large  supply  of  unthreshed  wheat ! 

*'  We  all  turned  in  by  eleven. 

"  November  ^rd. — Orders  have  come  round  that  the 
second  plan  will  be  adopted. 

"  Hav€  been  to  a  brigade  conference,  and  the  final 
arrangements  are  not  very  complicated  so  far  as  we  are 
concerned.  The  attack  (1st  and  2nd  Brigades)  is  to  start 
at  5.30  a.m.  and  we  are  to  march  from  here  at  6.30  a.m. 
We  halt  just  behind  the  place  where  our  present  line  is 
and  wait  for  orders.  On  our  left  a  whole  brigade  has 
gone  forward  with  cavalry  in  front  of  them.  .  .  .  Night 
is  coming  on  and  it  is  beginning  to  rain. 

"  November  Uh. — A  disturbed  night,  with  messages 
from  the  brigade  altering  plans, ^  and  the  time  of  attack 
from  5.30  to  6  a.m.  The  battalion  was  wakened  at  4.30, 
and  after  breakfast  marched  at  7.30  a.m.  in  misty  sun- 
rise. The  roads  were  packed  with  traffic  moving  for- 
ward, and  we  did  not  reach  our  assembly  place — Mortry 
Farm,  some  distance  beyond  Capelle — owing  to  bad 

1  Appendix  B  17. 

Nov.  1918]  VILLERS  POL  275 

blocks  in  the  rotten  roads,  till  10.20  p.m.  There  we  stuck 
in  a  field,  watching  the  traffic  going  by,  and  alsoalarge 
quantity  of  propaganda  balloons  letting  loose  leaflets 
over  the  Hun  country.  We  then  had  a  fiddling  march 
with  many  stops,  owing  to  traffic  crossing  a  small 
bridge — I  had  eventually  to  take  the  battalion  across 
country — to  the  village  of  Villers  Pol,  which  was  in  the 
hands  of  the  Boche  this  morning.  The  billets  were  good. 
Another  conference  at  6  p.m.  The  3rd  Brigade  are  to 
attack,  passing  through  the  1st  and  2'nd  Brigades  at 
6  a.m.  to-morrow.     This  battalion  is  in  reserve. 

"  I  saw  Dick  Ball  during  the  evening.  He  had  secured 
a  car  from  G.H.Q.  and  come  right  through,  and  was 
furious  at  being  ordered  back  to  Details  by  the  brigadier. 
I  am  bound  to  say  I  should  have  been  angry  too. 

"  November  5th. — We  had  to  be  in  position  at  5.30,^ 
so  I  marched  at  4.30  a.m.  It  was  not  more  than  two 
miles,  but  so  dark  that  I  had  to  leave  a  margin  of  time. 
The  opening  barrage  was  very  little.  It  began  to  rain,  but 
we  found  the  place  all  right  and  stuck  there,  on  the  side 
of  a  hill,  till  soon  after  9  a.m.,  when  we  set  out  for  Preux 
au  Sart.  Brigade  H.Q.  had  moved  ahead  of  us,  and  we 
got  stuck  in  the  mud  on  the  side  of  a  hill  for  twenty 
minutes,  so  we  did  not  make  good  time.  The  brigadier 
met  me  in  Preux  and  said  the  people  on  our  left  were  a 
bit  sticky,  but  he  was  not  going  to  wait  for  them,  and 
ordered  me  to  keep  pushing  forward  just  behind  the 
Scots  Guards  and  Grenadiers.  There  was  no  question 
of  losing  the  way,  so  I  rode  forward  to  see  what  was 
doing.  Found  Jack  Stirling  in  a  roadside  house  writing 
dozens  of  messages,  which  he  gave  to  an  army  of  orderlies. 
Told  him  what  I  was  doing,  and  he  gave  me  the  position 
of  his  companies.  *  I  see,'  he  told  me,  '  if  it  flows  you 
will  keep  close  behind.'    New  word,  '  flows  !  ' 

"  The  battalion  came  up  and  got  into  barns  while  I 
and  Jack  Crawshay  pushed  on  to  Amfroipret  to  see  Bill 
Bailey  (1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards).  The  Huns  had 
blown  up  all  the  road  junctions,  and  we  had  to  climb 
through  hedges  to  the  far  side  of  the  town.     We  did  not 

^  Appendix  B  18. 

276  THE  ADVANCE  [Chap.  XIX 

find  Bill,  but  bullets  were  flying  about  pretty  freely,  and 
we  discovered  we  were  in  the  front  of  the  battle  with 
some  small  tanks  which  were  on  the  point  of  attacking. 
Regardless  of  the  poor  quality  of  our  horsemanship, 
Jack  and  I  galloped  back  over  cobbles  and  holes.  The 
next  move  was  an  order  to  go  into  Amfroipret  with  the 
battalion,  which  I  did.  I  was  also  told  to  be  ready  to 
advance  at  any  moment.  This  state  of  uncertainty 
continued  until  late  in  the  afternoon,  when  definite 
information  was  given  that  we  were  to  attack  in  the 
morning.  By  the  time  I  knew  what  was  required  it  was 
dusk,  and  I  had  only  time  to  send  the  first  two  company 
commanders,  Battye  and  Coleman,  to  have  a  look  at  the 
ground  before  it  was  dark.     They  did  not  see  much. 

"  The  brigadier  did  not  know  what  the  division  would 
do  in  the  morning,  but  wanted  me  to  be  ready  with  a 
plan  to  capture  the  first  high  ground  in  conjunction  with 
Bill  Bailey.^  Saw  Bill,  who  seemed  very  bored  with  the 
whole  proceedings,  but  we  fixed  up  a  boundary  along  a 
railway,  and  arranged  with  Vickery  for  artillery.  Then 
Jack  Crawshay  and  Willie  Arthur  helped  me  to  work  out 
a  plan  and  orders  to  start  on  a  one-company  front,  and 
develop  to  two.  This  I  explained  fully  to  Battye  and 
Coleman,  who  were  to  do  it. 

"  At  8  p.m.  definite  orders  arrived— very  short  and 
sketchy — with  a  marked  map.  They  practically  said, 
*  You  will  be  on  the  left  and  work  according  to  map." 
The  map  took  us  further  than  the  arranged  plan,  so 
company  commanders  were  called  up  again  and  they 
marked  their  maps.* 

**  About  10.30  p.m.  the  Hun,  who  had  been  shooting 
steadily  at  the  village,  began  to  bombard  it.  The  streets 
were  full  of  flying  bricks  and  glass,  and  one  could  not 
move.  This  went  on  till  2  a.m.  and  then  eased  a  bit, 
and  we  thought  we  might  get  an  hour  or  two  of  sleep, 
but  a  message  came  from  Battye  asking  for  stretcher- 
bearers,  as  he  had  some  thirty  casualties.  Sent  up  all 
the  stretchers,  and  a  dozen  men,  and  had  the  unfortunate 
fellows  brought  into  a  barn  next  door  for  the  doctor  to 

1  Appendix  B  19.  2  Appendix  B  20. 

Nov.  1918]  BUVIGNIES  277 

work  on.  It  appeared  that  a  shell  had  pitched  in  the 
middle  of  the  barn  occupied  by  the  company  and  done 
in  the  best  part  of  two  platoons,  and  Battye,  like  the 
other  companies,  had  only  three. 

"  Everyone  was  tired,  and  I  did  not  want  to  detail  a 
fresh  company  for  the  attack,  and  have  all  the  N.C.O.'s. 
awake  while  it  was  explained  to  them,  so  I  told  Battye 
he  must  carry  out  the  first  part  of  the  attack  and  take 
the  village  of  Buvignies,  and  that  I  would  arrange  for 
Ellis  to  go  through  him  and  take  his  place  from  there 

"  There  was  no  sleep  for  us  at  all.  At  5  a.m.  the 
battalion  was  moving.  No.  2  Company  under  Coleman 
opened  the  attack  from  the  Grenadier  Line,  and  No.  4 
followed  them.  Battalion  H.Q.  had  moved  forward  to 
the  east  of  the  village,  and  at  6  a.m.  No.  3  joined  head- 
quarters just  as  the  attack  started.  At  6.30  No.  3 
followed  the  assaulting  companies,  and  the  Prince  of 
Wales's  Company  moved  up  to  their  place.  As  the 
battle  progressed  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  Bat- 
talion H.Q.,  machine-gun  and  trench-mortar  sections 
went  forward,  but,  owing  to  the  shelling,  these  moves 
were  half  an  hour  late.  Jack  Crawshay  and  I  rode 
forward  and  left  Willie  Arthur  to  whip  up. 

"  We  found  that  Battye  had  taken  the  village  without 
much  trouble — ^Ben  Davies  missed  a  Hun  five  times  with 
his  revolver,  and  the  fellow  got  away,  but  they  secured 
several  prisoners.  The  village  streets  were  swept  with 
bullets  from  Bavai,  and  were  also  being  shelled  by  two 
light  field  guns  from  the  east  of  Bavai.  Vickery's  boys 
attached  to  me,  with  two  field-guns  and  a  howitzer,  were 
up  in  wonderful  quick  time — ^the  fat  little  How  in  the 
middle  of  the  street,  and  the  two  field-guns  just  off  the 
street  in  a  field — and  got  to  work  searching  for  the  Hun 
field-guns  and  machine  guns. 

"  The  village  was  on  the  top  of  a  rise  with  a  perfectly 
straight  road  running  through  it  to  Bavai,  and  there 
followed  some  picture-book  fighting.  The  machine  gun- 
ner arrived  with  his  limbers  and  pack  mules,  and  un- 
loaded before  coming  up  the  rise  into  the  centre  of  the 

278  THE  ADVANCE  [Chap.  XIX 

village.  German  machine  guns  were  firing  straight  up 
this  road,  and  I  ordered  him  to  engage  them  from  a 
favourable  house.  Soon  he  had  two  guns  blazing  through 
two  windows,  the  field-guns  and  the  How  were  going 
all  the  time,  a  man  was  hit  in  the  street,  a  Frenchman 
dragged  me  into  his  house  and  his  wife  fell  on  my  neck 
and  kissed  me—  it  was  some  minutes  before  I  could  settle 
down  and  get  things  in  order. 

"This  village  of  Buvignies  is  to  the  south-west  of 
Bavai,  and  our  attack  was  due  east.  The  24th  Division 
was  by  way  of  being  on  our  left,  but  I  had  no  news  of 
them  at  all.  The  Scots  Guards  were  immediately  behind 
me,  round  the  village  called  Bermeries,  and  seemed 
already  to  be  protecting  the  flank  of  the  advance.  On 
my  right  was  Bill  Bailey  with  the  1st  Battalion  Grenadier 

"  I  put  Battye  with  his  weak  company  astride  the  road 
on  the  Bavai  side  of  the  village,  and  kept  J.  Ellis  with 
the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  resting  in  some  barns. 
And  then  we  had  to  wait  for  some  news  of  No.  3  Com- 
pany, which  Battye  reported  as  having  gone  on  in  the 
right  direction,  and  of  No.  2  on  the  right.  I  knew  Cole- 
man must  have  reached  his  first  line  all  right,  and  sent 
two  runners  to  look  for  him  and  find  out  what  he  was 

"  Vickery  arrived  in  tremendous  form.  He  gave  me 
another  section  of  guns  and  told  his  officers  to  *  put  in 
some  of  your  snappiest  and  keep  on  firing.  .  .  .  You  are 
young,  my  boy  !  .  .  .  Work  does  you  good.' 

**  And  then  came  a  note  from  Coleman  to  say  he  was 
digging  in  and  word  from  L.  F.  Ellis  to  say  he  was  getting 
on !  Gwynne  Jones  was  hanging  about  doing  liaison 
with  the  brigade,  so  I  sent  him  with  orders  to  Coleman 
to  push  his  company  well  forward  on  the  right  of  No.  3, 
and  not  to  think  of  his  flank,  as  Bill  Bailey  was  on  his 
right.  Bavai,  half  hidden  in  the  mist,  was  the  rotten 
spot,  and  L.  F.  Ellis  seemed  to  be  advancing  boldly  with 
his  flank  exposed  to  Bavai,  so  I  sent  J.  Ellis  with  the 
Prince  of  Wales's  Company  to  keep  in  close  support 
and  look  after  the  flank,  with  particular  instructions 

Nov.  1918]  BAVAI  279 

to   hold  the   railway  line  with  one  platoon   until  it 
was  relieved. 

"  All  the  time  we  worked  at  this  left  flank.  No.  4 
Company  went  forward  and  relieved  the  Prince  of  Wales's 
platoon  on  the  railway,  while  headquarters  held  the 
Buvignies — Bavai  Road.  I  also  sent  forward  a  trench- 
mortar  and  two  machine  guns.  Eventually  we  held  the 
cross  roads  south-east  of  Bavai  with  a  flank  of  3,000 
yards.  There  was  never  a  word  of  the  24th  Division, 
and  I  dared  not  try  and  press  on  any  farther  with  the 
unknown  quantity,  Bavai,  on  my  left. 

"  During  the  night  the  Hun  started  blowing  up  things 
in  Bavai.  It  was  dark  as  pitch,  but,  after  smelling  round 
for  some  time,  patrols  entered  the  town  about  two  in 
the  morning — to  Cpl.  White,  I  think,  belongs  the  honour 
of  being  the  first  to  enter  Bavai.  .  .  . 

**  For  L.  F.  Ellis  I  have  nothing  but  the  highest  praise. 
He  ran  the  whole  battle  in  the  front  line,  and  showed 
the  m«At  extraordinary  courage  and  determination  all 
through — quite  a  little  tiger. 

"  By  the  time  the  2nd  Brigade  had  assembled  to  go 
through  the  outpost  line  a  platoon  of  the  Prince  of 
Wales's  Company  was  in  the  southern  part  of  the  town 
holding  the  roads. 

"  Immediately  after  six  I  decided  to  have  a  look  at 
Bavai,  so  that  I  could  withdraw  my  people,  who  had 
been  ordered  to  hold  the  flank  of  the  3rd  Grenadiers  until 
the  24th  Division  came  up.  I  took  Percy  Battye,  Jack 
Crawshay,  and  six  men  with  me,  and  we  had  a  most 
amusing  morning.  We  were  hand-shaken,  we  were 
kissed,  we  were  cried  over — a  fearful  business.  Finally, 
working  our  way  down  a  side- street,  there  was  a  commo- 
tion. Women  began  to  scream  and  run  about,  a  clear 
way  was  made  down  the  street,  and  we  saw  some  civilians 
pointing — and  then  half  a  dozen  Huns  seemed  to  bound 
out  into  the  middle  of  the  street.  The  men  dashed  for- 
ward—Percy brandishing  an  empty  rifle  he  had  picked 
up — and  then  the  crowd  closed  round  again  and  everyone 
began  to  talk.  The  Huns  were  having  their  packs  pulled 
oB:  by  the  civilians,  who  were  calling  them  brutes,  rob- 


280  THE   ADVANCE  [Chap.  XIX 


bers,  etc.  I  got  hold,  of  Sergt.  Ham  and  told  him  to 
have  the  Huns  fall  in,  which  he  did,  and  we  continued 
our  journey.  On  the  western  side  of  the  town  we  met 
troops  of  the  24th  Division  and  I  told  an  officer  he  could 
get  on.  About  two  hours  later  I  withdrew  companies 
into  billets  in  Buvignies — the  poor  fellows  were  wet  to 
the  skin  and  deserved  a  rest. 

"  Jack  Stirling,  acting  for  Hay  ward,  who  had  been 
wounded,  came  to  see  me  and  told  me  Dick  Ball  was  on 
his  way  up,  and  to  get  out  a  report  about  Bavai.  There 
was  other  writing  required,  and  I  was  kept  busy  until 
the  evening. 

"  ISlovember  Sth. — There  was  a  brigade  funeral  at  11.30 
a.m.  for  men  killed  at  Amfroipret — including  six  of  ours. 
At  2.30  p.m.  we  had  another  funeral  at  Buvignies.  Poor 
young  Powell  was  amongst  the  killed,and  Pte. Hammond, 
the  H.Q.  orderly,  a  first-rate  fellow.  When  Mog  had 
finished  I  announced  to  the  battalion  over  the  graves  of 
the  dead  that  the  result  of  their  gallant  efforts  and  the 
supreme  sacrijB.ce  of  their  comrades  was  at  hand ;  that 
German  Plenipotentiaries  had  come  through  the  French 
line  under  a  flag  of  truce  to  ask  for  terms. 

"  Later  in  the  day  Dick  Ball  arrived  and  assumed 
command/' — Diary,  C.  H.  D.  W. 

This  engagement  near  Bavai  was  entirely  L.  F.  Ellis's 
and  No.  3  Company's  fight.  At  the  start  from  Amfroi- 
pret, Coleman  had  advanced,  with  his  company  extended, 
through  the  hedges  dividing  the  country  on  the  left  of 
the  railway.  Battye,  following  Coleman,  had  attacked 
Buvignies  from  the  south,  and  had  found  but  a  few  of 
the  enemy  there.  Ellis  then  arrived,  and,  forming  up 
his  company  on  the  east  of  the  village,  advanced  in  the 
direction  of  Prehert  Farm. 

Visibility  was  extremely  bad  owing  to  the  fine,  misty 
rain  which  continued  all  day.  Working  through  the 
hedges — the  boundaries  of  the  fields  in  this  part  of  the 
country  were  partly  wire  but  mostly  hedges — he  soon 
got  in  touch  with  the  enemy  on  the  railway. 

Ellis  was  a  little  man  who  indulged  at  times  in  quick, 

Nov.  1918]  BAVAI  281 

fretful  outbursts  of  temper.  All  previous  conversations 
and  instructions  indicated  a  quick  advance,  a  hustling 
of  the  enemy.  The  railway  was  not  a  long  way  from 
Buvignies,  and  when  Ellis  found  the  leading  platoon  of 
his  company  checked  he  went  forward  to  see  what  waa 
happening.  There  was  a  lot  of  noise  going  on  from 
enemy  machine  guns  firing  out  of  the  mist  in  front  of 
him  and  from  Bavai  on  his  left,  but  at  the  moment  no- 
thing from  the  railway,  some  fifty  yards  in  front  of  the 
bank  and  hedge  behind  which  his  platoons  were  lying. 
He  found  a  consultation  going  on  as  to  what  should  be 
done,  and  was  informed  that  the  railway  cutting  was 
held.  Immediately  he  lost  his  temper  and  began  to 
fume.  '*  Nonsense !  there  is  no  one  there,''  said  he, 
and  pushing  through  the  hedge,  ran  across  the  inter- 
vening fifty  yards,  and  jumped  into  the  cutting.  He 
found  himself  in  the  middle  of  about  thirty  Germans. 
He  had  nothing  but  his  walking-stick,  which  he  flour- 
ished. At  that  moment  there  was  a  loud  report  over 
his  head  and  a  German  fell.  Another  report,  then 
several  more  in  quick  succession.  L/Cpl.  E.  Gordon  and 
L/Sergt.  W.  Jones  had,  fortunately  for  Ellis,  followed 
him  as  soon  as  they  had  seen  what  he  was  doing,  and 
from  the  top  of  the  bank  were  firing  at  the  enemy. 

Gordon  was  one  of  the  best  shots  in  the  battalion,  and 
Jones,  though  not  so  good,  could  scarcely  miss  at  such 
close  range.  The  Germans  were  startled,  confused,  and 
ran,  but  Jones  accounted  for  five  and  Gordon  for  six 
before  they  reached  the  protection  of  an  adjacent  hedge 
and  the  favouring  mist. 

The  whole  company  were  now  streaming  into  the 
cutting,  and  Ellis  was  stamping  up  and  down  telling 
them  not  to  bunch.  Without  giving  them  breathing- 
time  he  led  the  way  over  the  opposite  bank  and  through 
the  first  hedge.  Facing  him  was  a  long,  gentle  slope 
with  wire  fencing  to  the  fields.  Almost  at  the  top  of  the 
rise  the  enemy  were  entrenched  in  "  slits,"  and  to  gain 
this  ground  there  was  a  lot  of  fighting  of  an  exciting 
character.  Ellis  had  fired  his  men,  and  they  advanced 
up  the  slope  in  short  rushes.    A  lot  of  ammunition  was 

282  THE  ADVANCE  [Chap.  XIX 

expended,  but  the  casualties  were  surprisingly  few. 
Ellis  personally  led  a  Lewis  Gun  team,  and  when  the 
No.  1  was  shot  through  the  neck,  worked  the  gun  him- 
self. Powell  was  killed  trying  to  rush  a  light  machine 
gun,  and  at  his  heels  Pte.  Hammond,  who  for  a  long  time 
had  been  Humphrey  Dene's  orderly.  L/Cpl.  Gordon 
was  shot  through  the  leg,  but  lay  on  his  back  firing  over 
his  feet  like  a  Bisley  marksman — Gordon's  shooting  un- 
doubtedly did  much  to  shake  the  enemy.  He  was  a  very 
cool  man,  and  claims  twelve  "  kills  "  that  day.  Pte. 
Arthur  Thomas,  too,  though  wounded  in  the  face,  con- 
tinued firing  his  Lewis  Gun.  The  enemy  were  either 
killed  or  they  ran,  and  Prehert  Farm  was  reached. 

Ellis  then  proceeded  to  clear  the  immediate  neigh- 
bourhood of  the  farm,  and  quite  a  game  of  hide-and-seek 
went  on  amongst  the  small  orchards  and  hedged  pad- 
docks surrounding  the  place.  It  could  almost  be  said 
that  the  men  "  enjoyed  "  this  fighting. 

With  Bavai  held,  the  position  of  the  company  had  to 
be  considered.  Coleman,  with  No.  2  Company,  should 
have  been  forwarded  on  Ellis's  right,  but  Coleman  was 
searching  for  the  Grenadiers  on  his  right  and  waiting  for 
them  to  advance.  The  whole  original  scheme  of  attack 
was  based  on  the  right  of  the  line  keeping  forward, 
whereas  the  left  had  shot  away  well  in  advance. 

J.  Ellis,  who  had  been  sent  up  with  the  Prince  of  Wales's 
Company,  now  got  in  touch  with  L.  F.  Ellis  (Squifi)  and 
relieved  his  anxiety  as  to  his  Bavai  flank. 

In  due  course  Gwynne  Jones  reached  Coleman,  and 
No.  2  Company  advanced  on  the  right. 

From  the  farm  to  the  main  road  the  advance  was 
slow — a  matter  of  working  steadily  from  hedge  to  hedge 
in  face  of  stiffer  resistance.  The  left  flank  was  fed  until 
only  headquarters  held  the  surroundings  of  Buvignies.  In 
the  patrol  work  to  his  front  and  towards  Bavai  "  Squifl  " 
Ellis  showed  the  greatest  skill.  He  had  not  enough 
men  to  risk  further  adventure,  and  was  ordered  to  stand 
fast ;  but  he  marked  each  enemy  post  and  each  retire- 
ment was  known  to  him  at  once.  He  first  got  in  touch 
with  a  French  civilian  on  the  very  outskirts  of  Bavai 


Nov.  1918]  BAVAI  283 

soon  after  midnight,  and  the  town  Was  entered  about 
2  a.m.  the  following  day. 

We  have  mentioned  872  L/Cpl.  E.  Gordon,  756  L/Sergt. 
W.  M.  Jones,  and  3,093  Pte.  A.  Thomas.  Others  who 
led  were— 1,465  L/Cpl.  S.  White,  Ptes.  3,275  R.  F. 
Charnley,  3,861  G.  W.  Snell,  624  L/Cpl.  A.  Raisley,  834 
L/Cpl.  W.  C.  Gardener,  Ptes.  3,555  I.  H.  Owen,  974 
C.  Thomas,  and  3,069  C.  G.  Sendy,  and  there  were  many 

Casualties  were  one  officer,  ninety-three  other  ranks. 

The  advance  was  carried  on  by  the  Ist  and  2nd 
Brigades  at  a  great  rate  (the  3rd  Brigade  advance  had 
been  carried  out  on  the  whole  width  of  front  of  the  1st 
and  2nd  Brigades).  After  two  nights'  rest  in  Buvignies 
the  Welsh  Guards  marched,  on  the  9th,  to  Longueville. 
To  say  the  army  was  moving  gives  no  conception  of 
the  scene.  For  miles  the  roads  were  packed  tight  with 
traffic,  and  were  being  rapidly  churned  up  into  mud 
and  loose  stones,  and  ended  abruptly,  at  such  points  as 
cross  roads,  forked  roads  and  level  crossings,  in  huge 
craters  where  the  retreating  Germans  had  blown  up  a 
mine.  Traffic  had  then  to  turn  off  into  soft  fields  where 
horses  plunged,  jibbed  and  became  bogged.  Through 
this  congestion  the  infantry  threaded  its  way  in  single 
file,  or  at  most  in  file.  Platoons  were  broken  into  and 
scattered,  but  by  this  time  the  men  were  wise  in  war, 
and  officers  knew  when  to  shout  and  when  to  be  quiet ; 
the  men  arrived  at  their  destination.  On  the  same  day 
the  3rd  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  entered  Maubeuge. 

On  November  10th  the  battalion  marched  to  Douzies. 

The  last  great  battle  was  nearing  its  end.  The  Fourth, 
Third  and  First  Armies  were  advancing  rapidly,  the  Fifth 
Army  had  captured  Peruwelz,  Antoins  and  Tournai,  the 
Second  Army  had  reached  Renaix  ;  cavalry  were  nearing 
Ath,  and  troops  were  approaching  Grammont.  Early 
on  the  morning  of  the  11th  the  3rd  Canadian  Division 
killed  or  captured  the  whole  of  the  German  garrison  of 
Mons,  and  the  Diary  of  the  Welsh  Guards  has  this  bald 
entry  on  that  date  :  "  News  reached  the  battalion  that 
an  Armistice  had  been  signed  to  take  effect  at  11.00  hours 

284  THE  ARMISTICE  [Chap.  XIX 

to-day."  In  the  same  quiet  way  was  the  conclusion  of 
hostilities  celebrated  by  the  Welsh  Guards  at  Douzies. 
There  was  some  mild  kind  of  junlcetting  amongst  the 
divisional  staff  at  Maubeuge,  but  otherwise  the  soldiers 
rested  or  cleaned  their  kit. 

The  order  posted  outside  Battalion  H.Q,  was  : 

"  Hostilities  will  cease  on  the  whole  front  as  from 
November  11th  at  11  o'clock  (French  time). 

"  The  Allied  troops  will  not,  until  a  further  order,  go 
beyond  the  line  reached  on  that  date  and  at  that  hour. 

"  (Signed)  Marshal  Foch." 

We  feel  we  have  not  done  justice  to  the  valour  of  those 
men  who  formed  and  fought  The  Battalion  of  Welsh 
Guards.  Amongst  the  fallen  are  officers,  from  Ran- 
dolph, Mawby  and  Smith,  who  were  the  first,  to  Powell, 
who  was  the  last,  whose  names  are  merely  mentioned ; 
there  are  hundreds  of  private  soldiers  who  are  not  men- 
tioned at  all.  To  tuck  the  names  of  gallant  men  who 
made  history  into  an  Appendix  is  an  expedient  which 
raises  bitter  reflections.  Has  a  man  who  gave  his  life 
no  better  reward  than  that  ?  Not  one  of  them  ever 
sought  such  miserable  recompense  as  a  paragraph  in  a 
book.  If  such  is  needed,  remember  he  was  a  Welsh 
Guardsman,  and  each  time  the  words  "  Welsh  Guards  " 
or  "Battalion"  occur  it  is  he,  it  is  his  effort  which  is 
meant.  Beyond  this  every  soldier  who  fought  and  fell 
in  the  Great  War  has  his  reward  in  the  memory  of  his 
friends;  but  an  adequate  monument,  worthy  of  his  sacri- 
fice, can  only  be  erected  by  the  future  action  of  his 
countrymen — men  whom  he  never  saw. 

While  writing  of  gallantry  we  have  the  deeds  of  some 
men  at  Mortaldje  always  in  our  mind.  It  was  easy  on 
this  occasion  to  describe,  we  will  say,  1,189  Pte.  W.  Jones 
advancing  alone  with  only  the  flickering,  shadow-raising 
flare  from  Verey  lights  dispersing  the  dark  of  a  moonless 
night.  We  can  see  him  stumbling  along  the  strange 
trench,  we  can  see  the  walls  of  earth  on  either  side  of 

Nov.  1918]  WELSH   GUARDSMEN  285 

him,  his  bayonet  flashing,  the  sharp  turn  in  the  trench 
and  the  jumping  light  throwing  a  shadow  like  a  black 
wall  from  the  angle  of  the  turn.  We  appreciate  the 
courage  which  led  him  through  the  shadow  and  round 
the  turn  in  the  trench.  We  realise  that  he  knew  he  might 
meet  the  enemy  at  any  moment,  and  was  deliberately 
seeking  him — he  was  a  determined  man  looking  for  his 
enemy.  But  what  are  we  to  say  of  Cpl.  David  James  ? 
He  was  not  looking  for  Germans.  He  grasped  no 
weapon,  his  mind  w^as  not  worked  up  to  the  frenzy  of 
killing.  He  slipped  into  treacherous  shell-holes,  tripped 
over  unseen  stakes,  tore  his  clothes  on  rusty  bits  of  wire 
that  rose  out  of  the  earth  like  brambles,  and  over  his 
shoulders  was  a  coil  of  the  same  kind  of  wire,  scratching 
his  face  and  hands,  clinging  to  his  legs,  his  coat,  his 
sleeve,  catching  at  everything  he  passed  and  jerking  him 
back.  He  led  his  party  of  men  into  the  open  and  com- 
menced to  lay  out  his  wire. 

Mud,  mud,  mud  comes  as  a  kind  of  chant  through 
every  account  of  the  war.  Slimy  mud,  green  mud,  blue 
mud,  brown  mud,  black  mud,  hiding  sharp  bits  of  tin, 
old  bayonets,  rifles,  caps,  clothes,  dead  men.  Shell-holes 
one  can  understand;  they  are  just  holes  of  varying  sizes — 
and  the  mud  at  the  bottom  of  them.  There  are  lots  of 
shell-holes ;  the  ground  is  pitted  with  them,  like  small- 
pox— bad  small-pox ;  and  the  ridges  of  earth,  separating 
one  from  the  other,  are  ridges  of  soft,  crumbling  earth 
into  which  your  feet  sink,  and  it  sticks  to  your  boots. 
There  is  no  grass.  The  whole  thing  is  destruction — the 
earth  is  destroyed,  pounded,  smashed,  blown  up  for  miles, 
making  a  long  belt  of  devastation  where  the  two  great 
armies  face  each  other.     This  is  the  open. 

At  any  time  you  would  hate  to  walk  over  the  open  ; 
you  would  hestitate  to  touch  an  open,  bleeding  wound, 
how  much  more  would  you  hesitate  to  touch  this 
wounded,  festering,  putrid  earth  ?  Cpl.  James  did  not 
think  about  it.  All  he  thought  about  was  laying  out 
his  entanglement  of  barbed  wire. 

But  we  have  not  yet  finished  with  the  "  open."  In 
the  open  you  are  exposed — you  might  as  well  be  naked — 

286  THE  ARMISTICE  [Chap.  XIX 

you  feel  so  naked.  And  you  seem  to  tower  above  every- 
thing, you  are  gigantic,  and  the  only  covering  you  think 
of  is  a  small,  deep  shell-hole  in  the  ground.  It  is  because 
you  hear  sounds  all  round  you  which  you  know  may  kill 
or  maim. 

A  man  was  blown  up  at  Mortaldje,  flung  twisting  in 
the  air  amongst  a  shower  of  mud.  He  began  to  run 
about  in  an  aimless  manner,  with  short  pauses  to  take 
off  some  portion  of  his  garments.  After  a  while  he  ran 
about  naked  until  another  shell  killed  him.  He  was  mad 
and  felt  naked.    This  is  the  open. 

Cpl.  James  worked  at  his  wire  in  the  open.  Something 
infinitely  more  vicious  in  sound  than  thunder  was  crash- 
ing all  round  him.  The  explosions  cut  one  another  like 
the  shell-holes  in  the  ground.  But  Cpl.  James  made  a 
good  job  of  his  wire.  He  had  six  men  with  him.  One 
was  smashed — then  another.  He  worked  with  Pte. 
Viggers.  Viggers  was  smashed,  and  Cpl.  James  was  alone. 
All  his  men  were  broken  and  scattered  like  bits  of  old 
stakes,  and  mixed  with  other  shattered  fragments  in  the 
mud.  This  was  the  result  of  the  sound  all  round  him, 
crashing  sound  and  flashes  of  light.  The  sound  was  still 
there,  shaking  the  air,  and  making  the  earth  stagger. 
Cpl.  James  had  put  out  all  his  wire.  There  was  more  to 
be  got  out,  but  he  had  no  men  to  fetch  it.  If  he  had 
more  men  could  he  put  up  more  wire,  or  would  they  all 
be  killed  too  ?  No  one  was  supervising  his  work ;  he 
was  all  alone.  The  Verey  lights  enabled  him  to  see  that 
everyone  else  in  the  open  was  apparently  engaged  on 
some  work,  so  it  was  extremely  unlikely  that  he  could 
get  more  men  to  carry  wire.  Cpl.  James  asked  for  more 
men ;  said  his  job  was  unfinished. 

Of  course  he  was  only  doing  his  duty.  He  was  not 
supposed  to  be  killing  Germans,  and  there  is  no  story  of 
valour  attached  to  him.  He  was  killed  at  the  battle  of 
the  Somme. 

In  a  dim  kind  of  manner  these  acts  were  sometimes 
recognised,  and  Cpl.  James  received  a  Military  Medal ; 
he  might  well  have  been  given  more.  On  the  other  hand, 
the  conditions  of  fatigues  at  the  battle  of  the  Somme 

Nov.  1918]  WELSH   GUARDSMEN  287 

and  the  third  battle  of  Ypres  were  very  similar  to 
this  incident  at  Mortaldje  and  differ  principally  as 
to  the  proportion  of  casualties — also  the  casualties 
were  picked  up  and  the  fatigue  carried  out — yet  no 
one  received  even  a  Military  Medal,  and  no  one 
is  mentioned  for  carrying  out  these  fatigues  in  this 
account  of  the  war.  Hard  as  it  is  to  raise  a  thrill  over 
Cpl.  James's  duty  while  a  minor  operation  is  in  progress, 
it  is  still  harder  where  the  every-day  duty  of  the 
battalion  is  concerned. 

What  are  we  to  say  of  a  manlike  G.  E.  Randall,  who, 
rather  than  fall  out  when  the  battalion  was  on  the  march 
because  the  sole  of  his  boot  came  off,  tramped  into  billets 
with  a  track  of  blood  behind  him  ?  He  might  be  called 
a  gallant  fellow,  AVe  can  feel  for  Randall — many  people 
have  suffered  from  a  sore  foot,  and  imagination  can 
supply  the  muddy,  cut-up  road  and  maybe  the  shell- 
pounded  track.  But  can  many  people,  without  the 
experience,  imagine  the  sentry  in  the  trench  ? 

The  sentry  has  marched  there,  four  or  five  miles, 
carrpng  his  rifle,  a  hundred  and  twenty  rounds  of  am- 
munition, a  heavy  pack,  a  spade  and  a  bag  of  rations. 
It  is  cold  and  it  is  raining,  but  he  is  sweating  under  his 
load.  And  he  arrives  at  the  trench.  The  trench  is  per- 
haps six  feet  deep,  and  he  cannot  see  over  the  top,  but,  as 
he  tramps  along  it,  he  brushes  the  muddy  sides  with  his 
sleeves.  If  there  are  no  trench-boards  his  feet  sink  over 
the  tops  of  his  boots  in  thick,  glue-like  mud.  His  post 
is  a  step  cut  in  the  side  of  the  trench,  a  step  which  will 
allow  seven  or  eight  men  to  sit  on  it.  He  stands  on  the 
step,  his  rifle  in  hand,  his  bayonet  fixed,  and  his  head 
over  the  top  of  the  parapet  and  about  eighteen  inches 
above  the  level  of  the  ground.  He  stares  into  the  night, 
and  each  bump  in  the  ground,  each  tuft  of  grass,  each 
stake  holding  the  barbed  wire  in  front  of  him  looks  big 
and  moves.  His  eyes  are  always  playing  tricks.  At 
times  he  gets  dazed,  so  that  he  sees  nothing  at  all.  He 
hears  movements  of  rats,  or  birds,  or  the  wind.  He  gets 
cold  and  is  relieved  after  one  hour,  and  then  sits  cold  and 
drowsy  for  two  hours — or  perhaps  he  has  to  work  at 

288  WELSH   GUARDSMEN  [Chap.  XIX 

digging  or  revetting.  Bullets  crack  about  Ms  ears  like 
whips.  Sometimes  the  shells  blow  up  the  trench  near 
him.  Everyone  stands  to  arms  an  hour  before  daylight, 
and  then  he  eats  his  breakfast.  During  the  day  he  gets 
longer  intervals  for  rest  on  his  muddy  fire-step,  as,  of  the 
six  men  in  his  post,  one  only  is  on  sentry  by  day  and  two 
at  night.  It  rains  all  the  time.  His  feet,  are  wet,  his 
clothes  are  wet,  he  is  blue  with  cold.  This  goes  on  for 
two  or  four  nights,  and  on  the  third  or  fifth,  as  the  case 
may  be,  he  is  relieved  by  another  unit  and  marches  back 
to  billets  with  his  load,  minus  the  rations,  but  plus  a 
considerable  weight  of  mud  and  water.  He  rests  in  a 
dilapidated  barn  with  holes  in  the  roof,  and  frequently 
water  on  the  earth  floor,  or  else  he  rests  in  another  trench 
with  the  added  luxury  of  several  bits  of  tin  as  a  roof. 
He  is  probably  bombed  or  shelled  during  the  nights  and 
days  that  follow,  but  possibly  does  one  hour  only  each 
night  as  sentry.  And  then  he  goes  back  to  the  "  Line  " 
again.  And  this  goes  on  for  months.  He  has  only  one 
suit  of  clothes  at  a  time  and  one  pair  of  boots  at  a  time. 
There  is  no  story  of  valour,  but  what  are  we  to  say  of 
the  man  who  did  it,  and  sang  while  he  did  it  ? 

But,  it  will  be  said,  certain  men  mentioned  have  done 
all  this  and  more — they  have  been  noted  as  having  done 
more  than  their  duty  !  For  all  we  know,  so  has  every 
other  man.  The  nominal  roll  of  the  Welsh  Guards  is  the 
list  we  give  of  gallant  men,  and  the  deeds  of  the  battalion 
are  their  deeds. 

Trios.  Pall,  Baker  Pt. 
CAPTAIN    (ACUNG    LT.-COL.)    E,    E.    C.    LUXMOORB    BALL,    D.S.O.,    D.O^. 




The  quiet  manner  in  whicli  troops  received  the  news 
of  an  Armistice  was  most  remarkable.  Their  attitude, 
their  conversation,  expressed  the  question,  ''  And  what 
happens  now  ?  " 

Slilitary  routine  continued  without  any  change  so  far 
as  hours  were  concerned.  The  battalion  might  well  have 
thought  itself  in  rest  billets  ten  miles  behind  the  line. 
There  was  actually  a  slight  alteration  in  the  nature  of 
the  work.  All  parades  were  of  a  more  strictly  ceremonial 
nature,  and  greater  attention  was  given  to  dress  and 
smartness.  There  was  no  more  musketry  and  bombing 
practice  ;  drill  took  place  every  day  without  the  varia- 
tion of  field  work,  with  battalion  schemes,  company 
schemes,  and  platoon  schemes  ;  there  was  squad  drill, 
company  drill,  and  battalion  parades. 

It  must  not  be  thought  that  such  drill  had  been  ban- 
ished during  the  war.  The  change  was  in  degree  in  the 
matter  of  drill,  and  complete  only  in  abandonment  of 
field  practice.  In  spite  of  all  the  difficulties  which  attend 
smartness  while  active  war  is  in  progress,  it  had  been 
maintained.  But,  although  free  from  rust,  there  had  not 
been  the  time  to  keep  a  permanent  polish,  a  peace-time 
polish,  on  the  battalion.  The  work  was  now  directed 
to  levelling  up  the  men,  to  bringing  the  backward  man 
up  to  standard. 

The  new  brigadier  appointed  to  the  3rd  Brigade  was 
John  Campbell,  of  the  Coldstream  Guards.  Most  people 
knew  him  ;   all  had  heard  of  him  on  the  Somme  battle- 


290  DOUZIES  [Chap.  XX 

field,  where  he  won  a  V.C.  on  September  15th,  1916. 
But  he  had  been  away  from  the  division  for  some  time 
in  command  of  a  Line  Brigade.  He  arrived  in  a  bad 
temper.  He  wanted  to  command  a  Brigade  of  Guards 
in  action,  and  the  fighting  was  over ;  he  was  very  sore. 
He  soon  settled  down,  however,  and  a  better,  kinder- 
hearted  man  never  walked.  He  would  do  anything  for 
an  officer  or  man  in  his  brigade— all  he  asked  for  in 
return  was  efficiency,  and  he  got  it. 

The  question  of  guards  became  a  prominent  one. 
They  were  to  be  as  the  King's  Guard  for  smartness. 
This  brought  up  the  further  question  of  clothes,  of 
shoulder-titles,  of  caps  and  badges.  On  the  one  side  was 
the  Ordnance  Department  complaining  of  extravagant 
demands  for  clothing,  on  the  other  the  brigadier  storming 
because  a  man  on  guard  had  his  trousers  patched. 

The  battalion  was  fairly  well  off  for  shoulder-titles. 
When  the  shortage  of  brass  became  serious  they  had  been 
withdrawn,  and  worsted  badges  with  "  Welsh  Guards  " 
in  white  on  a  black  ground  had  been  issued,  to  be  sewn 
on  the  shoulder- seams  of  the  sleeve.  These  were  a  regi- 
mental expense,  and  it  was  not  too  easy  to  renew  them. 
The  brass  leeks  were  now  reissued  as  well,  and  gradually 
all  these  difficulties  were  overcome. 

On  November  14th  there  was  a  thanksgiving  service 
of  a  public  nature  in  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  at 

The  mayor  and  town  officials,  the  divisional  staff,  com- 
manding officers,  and  seconds  in  command  attended. 
And  after  the  service  the  major-general  was  given  a  flag 
by  the  mayor — this  ceremony  taking  place  in  the  square. 
The  one  disappointment  amongst  the  onlookers  was  that 
the  mayor  did  not  kiss  the  major-general  (we  believe  bets 
had  been  made  on  the  subject).  It  was  thought  a  pity 
that  no  one  had  suggested  it  to  the  mayor,  not  so  much 
because  money  was  at  stake  but  to  see  what  the  major- 
general  would  do.  Willie  Arthur  had  been  assaulted  in 
this  fashion  by  a  French  peasant,  and  "  I  hit  him  in  the 
stomach,  d—  him,"'  But  our  Allies,  with  their  thoughts 
on  their  devastated  country,  and  the  years  of  bitterness 

Nov.  1918]      THE  MARCH   TO   COLOGNE  291 

through  which  they  had  passed,  were  in  no  mood  for 
jokes  of  this  description. 

The  next  day  the  battalion  was  paraded  to  hear  a 
lecture  on  demobilisation,  delivered  by  Valentine 
Williams  of  the  Irish  Guards. 

On  the  16th  there  was  an  open-air  Protestant  Thanks- 
giving at  Maubeuge ;  2*5  per  cent,  of  all  units  in  the 
division  attended. 

These  were  austere  festivities.  Maubeuge  did  its  best 
to  be  gay,  but  it  had  not  the  wherewithal  to  be  festive. 
The  Coldstream  Guards  band  played  in  the  square,  and 
the  populace  seemed  pleased  with  the  music,  but  there 
was  a  grim  correctness  covering  their  actions. 

During  these  few  days  preparations  for  the  advance 
to  the  Rhine  were  in  progress.  Men  who  were  not  fit 
for  a  strenuous  march  were  weeded  out,  and  on  the  18th 
the  division  marched  for  Villers-sire-Nicole.  The  Details 
moved  by  bus  to  Solesmes. 

~  We  do  not  propose  to  follow  the  movements  of  the 
battalion  step  by  step  over  the  212  miles  to  Cologne. 
The  strictest  march  discipline  was  observed  all  the  way. 
Full  regulation  kit  was  carried  by  each  man,  and  the 
transport  had  its  regulation  load.  Not  a  single  man  fell 
out  on  this  march.  The  roads  were  bad,  the  marching 
at  times  was  hard ;  many  men  had  their  toes  through 
their  boots  before  reaching  Cologne,  and  soap  could  no 
more  be  supplied  than  shoe-leather  ;  the  supply  of  fresh 
meat  failed,  as  did  forage  for  the  horses.  It  was  a  great 
march,  and  the  battalion  deserves  all  praise  for  the  way 
it  was  accomplished. 

It  was  in  the  nature  of  a  parade  march,  with  much 
fussing  and  worrying  over  details.  And  there  were 
amusing  efforts  by  units  to  secure  points.  The  brigadier 
found  Lieut.-Col.  Luxmoore  Ball  riding  along  the  line 
one  morning.  "  Well,  Ball,"  said  he,  "  everything  all 
right  ?  "  "  Splendid,''  replied  Dick  Ball,  "  except  the 
under  carriages  of  the  brigade  transport,  which  have  not 
been  cleaned.''  The  brigadier  rode  on  in  silence  and 
passed  the  battalion.  Presently  he  came  cantering  up 
to  the  Commanding  Officer — "  I  say,  Ball,  your  battalion 

292  THE   MARCH  TO   COLOGNE       [Chap.  XX 

is  disgraceful !  Two  men  going  about  like  poets  !  You 
must  see  they  get  their  hair  cut !  " — and  afterwards  he 
told  Geoffrey  Devas,  with  great  glee,  that  "  Ball  took 
my  name  over  the  transport  this  morning,  but  I  got 
back  on  him  !  '' 

One  town  w411  always  be  remembered  on  this  march — 
Monceau-sur-Sambre.  The  battalion  arrived  there  on 
November  20th,  and  was  met  by  the  municipal  band. 
The  burgomaster  delivered  an  oration  of  welcome,  and 
the  officers  were  banqueted  and  the  men  treated  to  the 
"  Wine  of  Victory/' 

The  wine  of  victory  was  a  levy  on  the  inhabitants. 
Treasure  and  wine  had  been  concealed  from  the  rapacious 
Germans  under  the  foundations  of  houses,  in  the  gardens, 
in  the  fields,  and  now  every  Belgian  who  had  possessed 
anything  of  the  kind  found  a  spade  and  dug  it  up. 
Burgundy  flowed.  Here  was  real  feasting  and  mad 
rejoicing.  Laughing  girls  danced  with  the  men  in  the 
square — no  Belgian  at  Monceau-sur-Sambre  could  do 
enough  for  a  Welsh  Guardsman.  And  it  was  all  well 
done,  a  genuine  welcome,  a  heartfelt  expression  of  thanks 
for  deliverance. 

The  rejoicings  continued  for  four  days  and  ended  with 
a  banquet  to  officers  on  the  evening  of  the  23rd.  The 
next  morning  the  march  was  continued  to  Chatalet. 

The  battalion  crossed  the  German  frontier  at  Poteau 
at  8.39  a.m.  on  December  13th.  The  weather  was  bad, 
with  heavy  rain  and  a  high  wind,  and  the  roads  in  a 
fearful  condition.  The  inhabitants  were  surly  or  servile. 
Cologne  was  entered  during  the  afternoon  of  the  20th. 

All  Details  had  arrived  in  Cologne  by  train  on  the  19th, 
so  the  whole  battalion  was  assembled  in  a  large  school 
in  Redwitz  Strasse  in  Sulz,  a  suburb  of  Cologne. 

Explicit  orders  w^ere  issued  against  any  form  of  fra- 
ternising, a  condition  which  most  Germans  in  Cologne 
seemed  only  too  anxious  to  foster.  Certain  restaurants 
were  allocated  for  the  exclusive  use  of  civilians,  but 
otherwise  there  were  few  restrictions  for  troops. 

The  behaviour  of  the  Welsh  Guards  in  Cologne  was, 
as  it  had  always  been,  exemplary.     They  had,  no  doubt, 

Dec.  1918]  COLOGNE  293 

many  temptations,  cunningly  offered  by  the  Germans  ; 
but  their  attitude  was  always  correct,  and  in  all  respects 
they  proved  themselves  the  smartest  battalion  in  the 
Guards  Division. 

A  party  composed  of  2/Lieuts.  Stanier  and  Paton, 
Drill -Sergt.  Pearce,  and  Sergts.  Grant  and  Pates  left  for 
England  on  the  23rd  to  bring  out  the  Colours. 

On  the  28th  demobilisation  commenced  with  the 
despatch  of  8  policemen  and  5  miners,  and  on  the  next 
day  of  213  miners  and  4  policemen  ;  but  after  a  time  the 
hasty  dispersal  of  the  Army  of  Occupation  became  serious 
and  had  to  be  stopped.  The  battalion  was  then  reduced 
to  little  more  than  half  strength,  and  the  last  draft, 
which  joined  the  Details  at  Solesmes,  and  was  composed 
largely  of  young  miners,  had  gone  home  again  within  a 
few  weeks  of  their  arrival. 

Christmas  dinners  were  eaten  on  the  29th,  and, 
although  good,  owing  to  the  congestion  on  the  railways 
the  men  did  not  get  all  that  had  been  sent  out  to  them 
from  Regimental  H.Q.  However,  the  sergeants'  mess 
had  a  good  spread  on  New  Year's  Day,  and  after  dinner 
entertained  the  officers. 

There  was,  of  course,  great  excitement  amongst  the 
inhabitants  when  the  Colours  arrived  on  January  7th. 
A  platoon  from  each  battalion  in  the  division  (with  the 
exception  of  the  new  Grenadier,  Coldstream,  and  Irish 
War  Battalions,  who  had  rejoined  the  division  prior  to 
the  march  into  Germany)  were  drawn  up  in  front  of  the 
railway  station.  Enormous  crowds  assembled  to  watch 
the  ceremony. 

It  was  a  fine  sight  when  the  Colours  marched  out  of 
the  station  and  took  their  places  in  the  centre  of  each 
platoon  while  the  massed  drums  played  in  rear.  Each 
brigade  party  then  marched  to  its  own  area.  Many 
Germans  both  round  the  Station  Square  and  on  the  line 
of  march  had  to  be  ordered  to  salute  the  Colours. 

There  were  no  inspection  parades  while  the  battalion 
was  at  Cologne,  but  barracks  were  visited  by  Gen.  Sir 
Herbert  Plumer  on  January  8th,  by  H.R.H.  the  Prince  of 
Wales  on  January  15th,  and  by  Gen,  Sir  H.  S.  RawHnson 

294  COLOGNE  [Chap.  XX 

on  February  14th,  Sir  Herbert  Plumer  brushed  aside  all 
the  surface  work,  and  in  a  few  minutes  was  asking  ques- 
tions in  a  quiet,  charming,  courteous  manner  which  went 
right  to  the  heart  of  good  management.  Lieut.-Col. 
Luxmoore  Ball,  however,  had  worked  the  battalion  up 
to  a  state  of  perfection  second  to  none ;  the  material  he 
had  could  not  have  been  better  used.  There  was,  on 
that  occasion,  one  amusing  incident.  A  scheme  of  edu- 
cation for  the  men  had  been  ordered,  and  the  Welsh 
Guards'  scheme  had  been  started  a  few  days  before  the 
Army  Commander's  visit,  but  was  not  quite  in  an  easy 
groove — the  lecturers,  drawn  from  the  officers  of  the 
battalion,  had  not  become  fluent.  Lieut.  Saunders  was 
just  opening  his  first  lecture  on  history  when  Sir  Herbert 
Plumer  and  a  crowd  of  senior  officers  entered  the  hall. 
Saunders,  naturally  enough,  was  thrown  into  confusion, 
but  before  he  could  make  up  his  mind  what  to  do  Sir 
Herbert  Plumer  told  him  to  go  on.  He  did.  He  did 
not  know  what  he  was  saying,  but  as  though  he  was 
reading  from  a  dictionary  words  flowed  from  him.  At 
one  moment  the  word  "  astronomy  "  echoed  through  the 
hall,  then  a  list  of  rivers  and  lakes,  followed  by  some 
allusion  to  the  wheat-producing  plains  of  North  America, 
which  bordered  on  an  agricultural  discussion.  History 
is  an  all-embracing  subject;  he  afterwards  argued  he 
was  trying  to  make  the  point  clear. 

A  slight  epidemic  of  influenza  broke  out  at  Cologne. 
The  battalion  had  not  been  absolutely  free  from  it  since 
they  left  St.  Hilaire— 2/Lieut.  Foote  had  died  of  it.  The 
astonishing  thing  about  the  whole  campaign  was  the 
absence  of  serious  epidemic. 

On  March  1st  the  battalion  celebrated  St.  David's 
Day.  The  men  had  a  special  dinner— Cecil  Keith,  now 
on  the  divisional  staff,  had  always  shown  the  greatest 
good-will  towards  the  battalion,  and  in  this  emergency 
once  more  came  to  the  rescue  with  a  light  lorry  in  which 
Sergt.  Marshall  was  despatched  to  Belgium  to  buy  pigs. 
There  was  also  a  concert ;  the  Scots  Guards  band  not 
only  played,  but  provided  some  good  comic  singers. 

The  officers'  dinner  was  held  in  a  room  in  a  small 

March  1919]     THE  RETURN  TO   ENGLAND  295 

restaurant  at  the  corner  of  Zulpicher  Strasse  and  Franz 
Joseph  Strasse.  Col.  Vickery,  of  the  74th  R.F.A.,  Col. 
Pilcher,  Major  Charles  Greville,  Grenadier  Guards,  and 
Lieut.  Rymer  Jones,  R.F.A.,  were  invited.  The  toast 
was  "Wales  and  the  Regiment,"  given  by  the  Command- 
ing Officer,  everyone  standing,  while  the  Welsh  National 
Anthem  was  sung  by  2/Lieut.  Walters  and  the  choir. 

It  was  the  last  event  on  foreign  soil.  Early  in  the 
morning  of  March  6th  the  battalion  marched  out  of 
barracks  for  the  station  at  Ehrenfeldt.  The  Major- 
General,  Brig.-Gen.  Campbell,  and  the  French  Com- 
mandant of  Maubeuge  attended  at  the  station  to  see  the 
battalion  off,  and  amidst  cheers  the  train  streamed  out 
of  Cologne  soon  after  9  a.m. 

It  was  a  slow  journey.  The  men  were  in  closed  trucks 
and  the  weather  was  bad,  but  not  too  severe.  Food  was 
plentifully  provided  by  canteens  on  the  way.  The  bat- 
talion (with  the  cadre  of  the  4th  Battalion  Grenadier 
Guards)  detrained  at  Dunkerque  on  the  morning  of  the 
8th.  Before  going  to  camp  the  men  were  all  medically 
examined — one  case  of  scabies  was  found. 

On  March  11th  the  battalion  embarked  on  the  ss. 
North-West  Miller,  and  sailed  from  Dunkerque,  The 
ship  had  to  lie  off  Calais  all  night,  no  night  sailing  being 
allowed,  and  was  met  by  Col.  Murray  Threipland  at 
Tilbury  Docks  on  the  afternoon  of  the  12th — from  there 
the  battalion  was  carried  to  Barnes  Station  by  train,  and 
arrived  at  Ranelagh  Club  soon  after  4  p.m.  A  number 
of  the  friends  of  officers  and  men  had  assembled  to  wel- 
come them. 

The  following  warrant  officers,  non-commissioned  offi- 
cers, and  men  are  those  who  went  out  with  the  battalion 
and  returned  with  it,  having  served  the  entire  period 
with  the  battalion  :  6  C.S.M.  A  Pearce,  23  C.Q.M.S.  L. 
Hunter,  5  Q.M.S.  H.  J.  Pursey,  50  C.Q.M.S.  W.  J.  Trott, 
374  Sergt.  J.  C.  Roberts,  1,037  Sergt.  F.  Aspinall,  496 
Sergt.  G.  Winter,  1,429  L/Sergt.  B.  Stone,  1,428  L/Sergt. 
J.  Hughes,  1,359  Sergt.  R.  Scott-Kiddie,  1,036  Dr.  L. 
Coley,  1,551  Dr.  G.  Denby,  152  Gdsm.  T.  J.  Rees. 




From  time  to  time  we  have  mentioned  the  arrival  of 
drafts  of  officers  and  men  in  Belgium  and  France.  The 
supply  and  training  of  these  drafts  was  the  business  of 
the  2nd  (Reserve)  Battalion. 

With  the  departure  of  the  1st  Battalion  to  France  the 
2nd  Battalion  came  into  being.  Command  was  given  to 
Lieut.-Col.  J.  B.  Stracey-Clitherow,  Hon.  Colonel  East 
Riding  of  Yorkshire  Lancers,  and  formerly  Major  in  the 
Scots  Guards,  a  tall,  handsome,  large-hearted  sportsman, 
who  was  justly  proud  of  the  men  he  eventually  turned 

At  the  commencement  the  following  warrant  and  non- 
commissioned officers  were  appointed  :  R.S.M.  W.  Ste- 
venson, R.Q.M.S.  I.  Smith,  Drill-Sergt.  S.  J.  Dunkley, 
Drill-Sergt.  J.  G.  Harris,  C.S.M.'s  Roberts,  Wadeson,  and 
Jenkins,  C.Q.M.S.'s  Lawson  and  T.  W.  Davies.  Some 
of  these  names  will  be  recognised  as  having  served  with 
the  1st  Battalion,  and  holding  a  rank  which  does  not 
coincide  with  the  above.  The  whole  question  of  rank 
is  extremely  confusing  both  with  officers  and  men. 
Under  the  system  of  giving  acting  rank  everyone  was 
sent  sliding  up  or  down  the  scale  as  he  was  or  ceased  to 
be  employed,  either  because  he  went  to  France,  or  came 
back  to  England  on  account  of  wounds  or  sickness,  or 
because  someone  else  with  the  substantive  rank  appeared 
and  reported  for  duty.  There  were  also  many  occasions 
when  a  man  was  given  acting  rank  because  he  was  the 
best  man  for  the  job,  but,  owing  to  the  establishment 


F.  A.  Swaine,   146,  Xew  Bond  Street. 

1915-6]  THE   2ND   BATTALION  297 

being  complete,  he  could  not  be  given  substantive  pro- 
motion. It  frequently  led  to  apparent  unjust  treatment, 
but  no  one  was  ever  able  to  suggest  a  better  method. 

Lieut.  E.  R.  Martin-Smith  was  appointed  Adjutant  of 
the  2nd  Battalion,  and  Lieut,  and  Quartermaster  W. 
Shipley,  formerly  Coldstream  Guards,  was  appointed 

On  September  9th  the  2nd  Battalion  left  Wellington 
Barracks  for  training  at  the  camp  at  Marlow,  where  they 
remained  until  October  18th.  The  first  draft,  consisting 
of  Lieut,  R.  E.  C.  Luxmoore  Ball  and  100  other  ranks, 
was  sent  from  Marlow  on  September  16th. 

The  winter  v/as  spent  at  the  Tower  of  London,  where 
many  German  spies  and  the  traitor  Casement  were 
guarded  by  the  2nd  Battalion.  A  more  cheerful  incident 
was  an  inspection  and  the  presentation  of  the  first  Dis- 
tinguished Conduct  Medal  won  by  the  Welsh  Guards 
(Pte.  G.  C.  Grant)  by  Major-Gen.  Sir  Francis  Lloyd  on 
January  10th,  1916. 

Naturally  enough,  being  essentially  a  draft-finding 
unit,  the  strength  of  the  2nd  Battalion  was  very  fluc- 
tuating, and  it  was  not  always  easy  to  find  the  men  neces- 
sary for  London  duties.  As  compared  with  the  reserve 
battalions  of  other  regiments  of  Guards  the  2nd  Battalion 
Welsh  Guards  was  the  worst  of!  for  men,  the  regiment 
having  an  establishment  of  only  one  battalion.  Also 
there  was  bound  to  be  an  uneven  state  of  training  in 
the  men  under  Lieut.-Col.  Stracey-Clitherow's  command 
— at  times  he  would  be  strong  in  recruits  just  arrived 
from  Caterham  Depot,  and  at  other  times  he  would  have 
a  high  percentage  of  trained  men  returned  through 
hospitals  from  the  1st  Battalion.  But  his  difficulties 
were  made  easier  from  June  12th,  1916,  onwards,  when 
his  battalion  moved  to  Tadworth. 

After  the  summer  training  at  Tadworth  they  moved 
to  Orpington  in  Kent,  which  was  part  of  the  London 
District,  on  October  24th.  A  brewery  was  turned  into 
a  barracks  for  the  men,  and  the  officers  were  billeted  in 

On  May  15th,  1917,  they  moved  once  more  to  Tad- 

298  THE   2ND   BATTALION         [Chap.  XXI 

wortli  Camp,  and  on  September  5tli  to  Ranelagh  Club, 
Barnes,  where  they  remained  for  the  rest  of  the  war. 

Major-Gen.  Sir  Francis  Lloyd  was  continually  visiting 
the  battalion,  and  inspected  them  on  June  28th,  1916, 
April  14th,  1917,  October  2nd,  1917,  March  13th,  1918. 
Field-Marshal  H.R.H.  the  Duke  of  Connaught  also  in- 
spected them  on  January  9th,  1917,  when  the  strength 
on  parade  was  20  officers  and  581  other  ranks.  The 
battalion  in  every  case  was  found  up  to  standard. 

In  the  training  of  the  men  Lieut.-Col.Stracey-Clitherow 
had  the  assistance  first  of  Major  Blake,  until  his  health 
broke  down,  and  then  of  Major  Fergusson.  There  was 
also  Capt.  A.E.  Price, who  did  good  work  with  the  messing 
of  the  battalion.  These  three,  and  of  course  the  quarter- 
master, were  the  only  permanent  officers  he  had.  Fox- 
Pitt  took  the  place  of  Martin  Smith  as  Adjutant  when 
the  latter  joined  the  1st  Battalion,  and  Fox-Pitt  was  in 
due  course  replaced  by  Stephen  Stokes.  Company  Com- 
manders varied  in  the  same  way.  Marshall  Roberts, 
who  had  never  recovered  from  the  wound  he  received 
early  in  the  war,  was  with  the  2nd  Battalion  a  long  time. 
He  went  to  the  1st  Battalion  twice,  but  each  time  his 
health  gave  way.  He  did  most  excellent  work  in  train- 
ing the  young  officers  and  men,  although  bitterly  dis- 
appointed that  he  could  not  serve  abroad. 

On  February  27th,  1918,  a  Memorial  Service  was  held 
at  Holy  Trinity,  Sloane  Street,  London,  for  officers, 
warrant  officers,  non-commissioned  officers  and  men  of 
the  Welsh  Guards  who  had  fallen  in  the  war.  H.R.H. 
the  Prince  of  Wales  was  present,  and  the  congregation 
included  the  Lord  Mayor  of  Cardif!  and  Welsh  members 
of  Parliament.  The  Bishop  of  St.  Asaph  (the  Right 
Rev.  Alfred  George  Edwards,  D.D.)  preached.  The  Rev. 
John  Williams,  D.D.,  Chaplain  to  the  Forces,  Minister  of 
Llwnidris,  Llanfair,  P.G.,  Anglesea,  read  the  lessons,  the 
first  in  English  and  the  second  in  Welsh.  The  service 
was  most  impressive. 

Major  G.  C.  D.  Gordon,  D.S.O.,  assumed  command  of 
the  battalion  on  March  2nd,  1918,  Lieut.-Col.  Stracey 
Clitherow  having  been  placed  on  retired  pay.     The  re- 




tirement  of  tlie  Commanding  Officer  was  not  altogether 
unexpected,  as  he  often  chaffed  about  what  he  called  his 
"  Anno  Domini,"  but  whatever  that  may  have  been  he 
was  hale  and  vigorous,  and  won  the  very  real  affection 
and  esteem  of  all  who  served  under  him — and  his  drafts 
were  good. 

Major  Douglas  Gordon  was  again  given  the  Acting 
rank  of  lieutenant-colonel,  and  his  experience  with  the 
1st  Battalion  enabled  him  to  modify  the  system  of  train- 
ing in  some  directions  ;  but  the  war  was  nearing  its  end, 
and  he  did  not  send  out  a  great  number  of  men. 

Two  Army  Orders  of  interest  were  the  one  appearing 
on  March  22nd,  1918,  abolishing  the  left-hand  salute, 
the  other  on  August  6th,  when  chevrons  were  ordered 
to  be  worn,  one  for  each  year's  service  overseas. 

On  September  26th  Lieut.-Gen.  Sir  Francis  Lloyd, 
G.C.V.O.,  K.C.B.,  D.S.O.,  who  had  had  so  much  to  do 
with  the  raising  and  training  of  the  regiment,  addressed 
all  ranks  on  parade  at  Ranelagh  in  a  farewell  speech  on 
the  termination  of  his  period,  of  command  of  the  London 

The  Reserve  Battalion  disappeared  on  March  18th, 
1919,  becoming  absorbed  in  the  1st  Battalion,  which  had 
returned  on  the  12th.  Everyone  connected  with  the 
organisation  had  reason  to  be  proud  of  the  work  they 
had  done. 

The  following  is  a  list  of  drafts  sent  out  to  the  1st 
Battalion : 















Lieut.  R.  E.  C.  Luxmoore  Ball. 





Capt.  H.  E.  Allen  and  Lieut.  P.L.M.  Batty e. 




Capt.  H.  H.  Aldridge,  Lieut.  B.  C.  Williama 
Ellis,  Lieut.  J.  W.  Lewis,  2/Lieut.  C.  H. 
Dudley  Ward,  2/Lieut.  E.  Crawford  Wood. 





2/Lieut.  N.  Newall. 




Lieut.  Lord  Newborough,  2/Lieut.  J.  W.  L. 
Crawshay,  2/Lieut.  C.E.S.  Dodd,  2/Lieut. 
H.  S.  Stokes,  2/Lieut.  A.  Gibbs. 





C.S.M.  J.  Harris,  15  C.S.M.  P.  Roberts. 


THE   2ND   BATTALION       [Chap.  XXI 

No.  Date.         Officers. 


















































Capt.  H.  G.  Smith,  Lieut.  Viscount  Clive, 

Lieut.  F.  F.  Barlow,  2/Lieut.  F.  B.  W. 

Williams,  2/Lieut.  J.  A.  Pugh,  2/Lieut. 

M.  C.  de  Wiart. 
Capt.  H.  Dene. 
Machine  Gunners. 
Lieut.  B.  T.  V.  Hambrough,  2/Lieut.  R.  E. 

0.  Goetz,  2/Lieut.  J.  L.  G.  Kearton. 
Lieut.  H.  A.  Evan-Thomas, 
2/Lieut.  E.  H.  L.  Bagot. 
Machine  Gunners. 
Machine  Gunners. 
2/Lieut.  W.  A.  F.  L.  Fox-Pitt. 
Capt.   H.   G.   G.   Ashton,  Lieut.   Earl   of 

Lisbume,  2/Lieut.  P.  C.  Dickens. 
2/Lieut.  B.  T.  M.  Hebert. 
Lieut.  J.  W.  Power,  2/Lieut.  E.  Cazalet. 
2/Lieut.  A.  P.  Wemher,  Lieut.  R.  W.  Lewis, 

2/Lieut.   C.   W.   Dimcan  to   conduct  and 

Machine  Gunners. 
Major  H.  H.  Bromfield,  D.S.O.,  2/Lieut. 

J.  L.  G.  Kearton. 

3  Signallers,  5  Machine  Gunners. 

2/Lieut.  M.  A.  Hughes. 

Machine  Gunners. 


Capt.  C.  C.  L.  FitzwUliams. 

Machine  Gunners. 

Lieut.  R.  E.  C.  Luxmoore  Ball,  2/Lieut. 
G.  C.  Devas,  2/Lieut.  W.  M.  Upjohn, 
2/Lieut.  O.  Bird,  2/Lieut.  R.  W.  Har- 
greaves,  2/Lieut.  P.  Dilberoglue,  2/Lieut. 
W.  N.  Downing,  2/Lieut.  H.  F.  Lascelles. 

2/Lieut.  L.  F.  Ellis. 

2/Lieut.  M.  C.  de  Wiart. 

2/Lieut.  H.  P.  Gould. 

2/Lieut.  R.  L.  Wreford  Brown. 

2/Lieut.  V.  G.  North,  2/Lieut.  A.  W.  W. 
Berg  (Machine  Gun  Company). 

2/Lieut.  R.  G.  de  B.  Devereux  (conducting 
and  return). 

Major  G.  C.  D.  Gordon. 
Lieut.  W.  L.  B.  Bonn,  Lieut.  H.  B.  Rode- 
rick, 2/Lieut.  W.  N.  Culverwell. 
2/Lieut.  R.  G.  de  B.  Devereux. 
2/Lieut.  J,  L.  G.  Kearton. 













2/Lieut.  F.  B.  W.  Williams  (conduct  and 





2/Lieut.  R.  C.  Bonsor. 





2/Lieut.  H.  A,  St.  G.  Saunders. 




2/Lieut.  R.  C.  R.  Shand,  2/Lieut.  W.  Arthur, 
2/Lieut.  R.  R.  Jones,  2/Lieut.  J.  C.  Jen- 





2/Lieut.  A.  C.  H.  Borough. 





2/Lieut.  A.  Gwynne  Jones,  D.S.O. 





Capt.  Battye,  Capt.  H.  E.  Allen,  2/Lieut. 
R.  W.  Youngman. 





2/Lieut.  G.  D.  Manley. 





2/Lieut.  B.  T.  M.  Hebert,  2/Lieut.  F.  D.  S. 









2/Lieut.  T.  E.  Byrne,  2/Lieut.  H.  E.  Baness. 





Lieut.  K.  G.  Menzies,  Lieut.  H.  T.  Rice. 





2  corporals  and  20  men  to  join  the  Divi- 
sional Labour  Company. 





Capt.  J.  V.  Taylor. 










Lieut.  E.  R.  M.  Smith. 





Lieut.  N.  Newall. 





Lieut.  P.  C.  Dickens,  2/Lieut.  A.  F.  M. 





Lieut.  R.  W.  Hargreaves,  2/Lieut.  G.  C.  S. 





2/Lieut.  T.  H.  B.  Webb,  2/Lieut.  C.  P. 
Ballard,  2/Lieut.  P.  Llewellyn. 





Lieut.  R.  G.  de  B.  Devereux. 





Lt.  C.  H.  Dudley  Ward,  M.C. 





Lieut.  N.M.Harrop  (conducting  and  return). 





Lieut.  N.  M.  Harrop,  2/Lieut.  C.  T.  Bowyer, 
2/Lieut.  E.  J.  Davies. 









Major  H.  Dene,  D.S.O. 





2/Lieut.  G.  P.  Gore  (conduct  and  return). 










2/Lieut.  G.  P.  Gore. 









Lieut.  Hon.  P.  G.  J.  F.  Howard,  Lieut.  C, 
Romer  Williams,  2/Lieut.  J.  A.  Wiseman, 
2/Lieut.  D.  B.  Davies,  2/Lieut.  B.  Stokes, 
Lieut.  H.  A.  Evan  Thomas. 





Lieut.  P.  DUberoglue  (conducting  and  re- 










(Retransf erred  from  Machine  Gun  Guards). 





Lieut.  M.  C.  de  Wiart,  Lieut.  L.  F.  Ellis, 
2/Lieut.  T.  Mathew. 


THE   2ND  BATTALION         [Chap.  XXI 

Date.         Officers 







































2/Lieut.  T.  E.  BjTTie. 

Capt.  G.  C.  L.  Insole,  M.C. 

Cpt.  M.  0.  Roberts. 

Pioneer-Sergt.  Hart. 

2/Lieut.  C.  M.  Fleming. 

2/Lieut.  H.  C.  N.  Hill,  2/Lieut.  R.  R.  D. 


Lieut.  P.  Dilberoglue,  2/Lieut.  C.  E,  Davies. 
Capt.  R.  W.  Lewis,  M.C. 
No.  1  R.S.M.  W,  Stevenson. 
Lieut.    (A/Capt.)   W.   M.   Upjohn,   Lieut. 

J.  W.  L.  Crawshay. 
2/Lieut.  A.  B.  G.  Stanier,  2/Lieut.  E.  B. 

Hawksley,  2/Lieut.  J.  E.  Gloag,  2/Lieut. 

T.  B.  Watson. 
2/Lieut.    W.    A.    Courtney,    2/Lieut.    W. 

Holdsworth,     2/Lieut.     J,    A.     Davies, 

2/Lieut.  H.B. Trotter, M.M., 2/Lieut.  H.  A. 

Spence-Thomas,  2/Lieut.  H.  L.  Tatham. 

2/Lieut.  J.  A.  Wiseman. 
2/Lieut.  P.  A.  L.  Evans. 

2/Lieut.  W.  E.  G.  P.  PoweU. 

Capt.  P.  L.  M.  Battye,  M.C. 

Lieut.  P.  G.  Coleman,  D.S.O.,  2/Lieut.  0.  J. 
Willoughby,  2/Lieut.  C.  H.  Adams, 
2/Lieut.  V.  E.  Foot,  2/Lieut.  P.  F.  Reid. 

Lieut.  W.  F.  A.  L.  Fox-Pitt,  Lieut.  W. 

Arthur,  M.C. 
Lieut.  A.  Gwjmne  Jones,  D.S.O.,  Lieut.  H. 

A.  St.  G.  Saunders,  2/Lieut.  L.  D.  W. 



Lieut.  E.  R.  M.  Smith. 

2/Lieut.  R.  W.  Smith. 

Lieut.   F.   A.   V.   Copland-Griffiths,  M.C, 

2/Lieut.   H.   B.   MUler,  2/Lieut.    P.   G. 

Dyke-Dennis,   2/Lieut.    T.    G.    Walters, 

2/Lieut  D.  B.  Morgan. 
Lieut.  B.  T.  M.  Hebert,  M.C,  2/Lieut.  A. 

2/Lieut.  C.  G.  Kemball. 

1918-9]  THE   2ND   BATTALION      ^  303 

On  March  22nd,  1919,  a  year  and  a  day  after  the  open- 
ing of  the  big  German  offensive,  the  Guards  Division 
marched  through  London.  The  two  battalions  of  Welsh 
Guards  were  now  merged  into  one,  and  this  recon- 
structed battalion  was  commanded  by  the  officers  who 
had  returned  with  the  1st  Battalion  from  Cologne ;  other 
officers  who  had  been  overseas,  but  were  with  the  2nd 
Battalion  when  it  was  abolished,  commanded  the  demo- 
bilised and  discharged  men  who  took  part  in  the  march. 
At  the  head  of  the  Welsh  Guards  Col.  Murray  Threip- 
land,  Lieut.-Col.  Douglas  Gordon,  and  Major  Dene  rode 
abreast  as  former  Commanding  Officers  of  the  service 
battalion,  the  battalion  itself  being  under  Lieut.-Col. 
Luxmoore  Ball. 

The  place  of  assembly  was  in  Hyde  Park,  and  the 
route  followed  was  through  Hyde  Park  Corner,  Grosvenor 
Place,  and  Buckingham  Gate,  in  and  out  of  the  Buck- 
ingham Palace  Gates— His  Majesty  stood  under  the 
porch  to  take  the  salute — down  the  Mall  through  the 
Admiralty  Arch,  along  the  Strand,  Fleet  Street,  Ludgate 
Hill,  to  the  Mansion  House,  where  the  Lord  Mayor  took 
the  salute,  and  so  back  to  Hyde  Park  by  Cheapside, 
Holborn,  Shaftesbury  Avenue  and  Piccadilly.  The 
Colours  were  carried  by  2/Lieuts.  Paton  and  Stanier. 

On  May  Ist  Lieut.-Col.  the  Hon.  A.  G.  A.  Hore- 
Ruthven,  V.C.,  C.B.,  C.M.G.,  D.S.O.,  assumed  command 
of  the  battalion. 

Peace  was  signed  at  Versailles  on  June  28th,  and  a 
Triumphal  March  took  place  in  Paris  on  July  14th.  The 
British  Army  was  represented  by  the  colours  of  its 
regiments  and  the  whole  contingent  was  under  the 
command  of  Col.  W.  Murray  Threipland,  D.S.O.  Capts. 
P.  Battye,  M.C. ,  and  Keith  Menzies,  M.C. ,  had  the  honour 
of  carrying  the  Welsh  Guards  Colours  through  the  Arc 
de  Triomphe.  The  escort  consisted  of  351  Drill-Sergt. 
S.  J.  Dunkley,  41  Sergt.  J.  Evans,  and  25  L/Sergt.  R. 
Lawson,  M.M. 

On  July  19th  representatives  from  the  Navy,  the 
Army,  and  contingents  from  all  Allied  Forces  marched 
in  triumph  through  London.    On  this   occasion  the 

304  THE   2ND   BATTALION       [Chap.  XXI 

Colours  were  borne  by  Capt.  Rice  and  Lieut.  Copland- 
Griffiths,  M.C.,  and  were  escorted  by  a  platoon.  The 
route  from  Hyde  Park  was  through  Albert  Gate  to  Vaux- 
hall  Bridge  Road,  via  Sloane  Street  and  Belgrave 
Square,  through  Kennington  and  Lambeth,  over  West>- 
minster  Bridge,  and  so  through  the  Admiralty  Arch  to 
the  saluting  point,  which  was  in  front  of  the  Victoria 

Bassano  Ltd.,  Old  Bond  St. 





In  the  early  stages  of  formation  Lieut.-Col.  Murray- 
Threipland,  commanding  the  1st  Battalion,  performed 
the  duties  of  Lieutenant-Colonel  of  the  regiment,  but  on 
June  16th,  1915,  Lord  Harlech  was  given  the  temporary 
appointment  to  that  position. 

Q.M.S.  C.  E.  Woods,  of  the  Ist  Battalion  Scots  Guards, 
returned  from  France  to  become  sergeant-major  and 
superintending  clerk. 

The  position  of  Regimental  Adjutant  was  filled  by  a 
succession  of  officers,  who  in  most  cases  held  an  acting 
appointment  only.    They  were  : 

Capt.  M.  0.  Roberts  (acting) 
Capt.  B.  T.  V.  Hambrough  (acting) 
Capt.  R.  W,  Lewis  (acting)    . 
Capt.  H.  E.  Allen  (acting)    . 
Capt.  P.  L.  M.  Battye  (acting)    . 
Major  R.  G.  Williams-Bulkeley    . 
Capt.  J.  W.  L.  Crawshay     . 
Capt.  B.  T.  V.  Hambrough  (acting) 
Capt.  the  Earl  of  Lisbume  . 
Capt.  J.  J.  P.  Evans  . 

On  October  15th,  1917,  Col.  Lord  Harlech  retired,  and 
was  succeeded  by  Lieut.-Col.  W.  Murray  Threipland, 
D.S.O.,  with  the  temporary  rank  of  colonel  while  com- 
manding the  regiment  and  regimental  district ;  this  rank 
was  confirmed  in  The  Gazette  on  October  15th,  1917. 

On  June  3rd,  1919,  the  King's  birthday.  His  Majesty 
was  graciously  pleased  to  appoint  H.R.H.  the  Prince  of 
Wales  Colonel  of  the  Regiment. 









































The  Bandmaster  (A.  Harris)  was  appointed  on  Sept.  8tli, 
1915.  The  formation  of  the  band  started  about  October 
9th,  1915.  The  first  performance  in  public  was  a  Grand 
Welsh  Patriotic  Meeting,  held  at  the  London  Opera 
House  on  March  1st,  1916,  the  band  wearing  full  peace- 
time uniform.  Lord  Harlech  was  in  the  chair,  the 
speakers  being  the  Rt.  Hon.  Lord  Justice  Bankes,  Major- 
Gen.  Sir  Francis  Lloyd,  G.C.V.O.,  K.C.B.,  D.S.O.,  Major 
Robert  Jones,  Dr.  Lynn  Thomas,  CB. 

The  band  did  duty  with  the  guard  at  Buckingham 
Palace  that  morning  for  the  first  time.  Full  dress  with 
bearskin  cap  was  worn. 

On  October  28th,  1916,  the  band  proceeded  to  France 
on  a  tour  of  three  months'  duty  with  the  Guards  Division 
and  a  few  weeks  later  met  the  1st  Battalion  returning 
from  the  front  line  just  outside  Meault,  and  played  them 
to  their  billets.  The  troops  were  so  tired  that  the  band 
had  to  play  in  slow  march  time. 

The  massed  bands  of  the  Guards  Brigade  visited  Paris 
in  May  1917,  and  gave  concerts  in  the  Trocadero  and  the 
Tuileries  Gardens  in  aid  of  French  charities. 

On  February  18th,  1918,  the  massed  bands  were 
ordered  to  Italy. 

Diary  of  the  Visit  of  the  Massed  Bands,  Brigade 
OF  Guards,  to  Italy  {Lieut.  A.  Harris) 

"  Monday,  February  ISth,  1918.— Special  train  from 
Victoria  to  Folkestone,  leaving  at  8.28  a.m.  Arrived 
Folkestone  10.30.  Boat  did  not  put  out  till  midday. 
Crossed  in  the  Invicta.    Arrived  Boulogne  2  p.m.    All 


1918]  THE   BAND  307 

the  bandsmen  taken  off  to  a  large  rest  billet.  Officers 
had  luncheon  at  the  buffet.  Train  left  Boulogne  for 
Paris  at  7.30  p.m.  Picked  up  the  Irish  Guards  Band  in 
the  night  (all  under  the  command  of  Lieut.  Fitzgerald, 
Grenadier  Guards)  at  Abbeville.  Delay  in  the  train,  and 
did  not  reach  Paris  until  7  a.m.  instead  of  4.40. 

"  Tuesday,  February  19th,  1918.— Went  to  the  Hotel 
Meurice.  All  the  bandsmen  were  put  up  for  the  day  at 
the  Leave  Club.  Left  the  Gare  du  Lyon  at  8.25  p.m. 
after  meeting  the  band  of  the  Garde  Eepublicaine,  which 
joined  the  train. 

"  Wednesday,  February  20th,  1918. — Eeached  Cham- 
bery  about  8  a.m.  American  band  joined  the  train 
in  the  middle  of  the  night.  Reached  Modane  about 
12  (French  time).  Luncheon  provided  by  the  Italian 
authorities  for  all  officers  and  men.  Left  Modane  a  little 
after  2  (Italian  time).  On  arrival  at  Turin  officers  got 
out  and  had  glasses  of  champagne.  Large  crowd.  Band 
playing  National  Anthems  ;  hearty  reception.  Stopped 
at  a  station  near  Genoa  ;  large  crowd  on  platform  ; 
given  tea,  flowers,  flags  and  postcards.  Arrived  Genoa 
10  p.m.  Station  decorated  and  enormous  crowds  both 
inside  and  outside.  Marched  to  what  had  once  been  an 
exhibition.  People  very  enthusiastic.  Taken  into  a 
large  hall  and  given  a  very  good  dinner.  Speeches 
afterwards.  Returned  to  the  train  afterwards.  Train 
kept  on  stopping  during  the  night  and  lost  five  hours. 

"  Thursday,  February  21st,  1918.— Arrived  Pisa  9  a.m. 
Stayed  there  about  an  hour,  and  saw  the  Leaning  Tower. 
Arrived  at  Livorno  about  midday.  No  breakfast,  only 
coffee.  Reached  Grosetto  about  5  p.m.  Everyone  given 
a  packet  containing  food  and  wine.  Journey  afterwards 
very  tedious.  Finally  reached  Rome  at  11  p.m.  Enor- 
mous crowd  on  platform.  Very  hearty  reception.  Went 
to  the  Grand  Hotel.  The  bandsmen  were  taken  to  the 
Carabinieri  Barracks. 

"  Friday,  February  22nd,  1918.— Rehearsal  for  the 
concert.  Concert  at  the  Augusteo  in  the  evening.  Great 
success.  Bands  of  Brigade  of  Guards  receive  splendid 
ovation.    Concert  over  a  little  before  midnight. 

308  THE   BAND  [Chap.  XXIII 

"  Saturday,  February  23rd,  1918.— Inspection  by  the 
Under-Secretary  for  War  of  the  Massed  Bands  at  the 
Carabinieri  Barracks  in  the  morning.  Bands  afterwards 
marched  round  the  barrack  square  playing.  Concert 
again  at  the  Augusteo  in  the  afternoon  for  the  wounded, 
of  whom  there  were  a  great  number  present.  Very 
enthusiastic  audience. 

"  Sunday,  February  2Uh,  1918. — The  British  Ambassa- 
dor visited  the  Carabinieri  Barracks  and  saw  the  bands- 
men. In  the  afternoon  a  concert  was  held  in  the  Villa 
Borghese.  Enormous  crowds  all  round.  Ideal  place. 
At  5  o'clock  started  to  march  to  the  Victor  Emmanuel 
Monument ;  but  no  arrangements  were  made  by  the 
police  to  keep  the  ground.  During  the  march  it  was 
practically  impossible  to  play.  Reached  the  Monument 
at  7  o'clock,  where  the  bands  played  the  various  National 
Anthems.     Then  quite  dark. 

"  Monday,  February  25th,  1918.— At  2.30  the  Massed 
Bands  marched  into  the  Quirinal  playing.  Other  bands 
already  formed  up.  The  Italian  Band  played  National 
Anthem,  and  one  other  piece  ;  the  American  Band  then 
played  :  then  the  Band  of  the  Garde  Republicaine  ;  and 
last  of  all  the  Massed  Bands  of  the  Brigade  of  Guards — 
the  National  Anthem  and  '  Tipperary.'  Presentations 
were  then  made  to  the  Queen,  who  gave  everyone  in  the 
Massed  Bands  a  silver  cigarette-case.  Refreshments 
were  then  given.  Band  formed  up.  Gave  three  cheers 
for  the  King  and  Queen.  Bands  then  marched  round 
the  courtyard  playing,  and  then  outside.  Band  of  the 
Grenadier  Guards  played  at  the  opening  of  an  Anglo- 
Italian  Institute  in  the  evening. 

(The  flowers  which  had  been  given  to  the  Massed  Bands 
while  at  the  Quirinal  in  the  afternoon  were  distributed 
among  the  wounded  at  the  hospital,  which  was  highly 

"  Tuesday,  February  2^th,  1918. — Photographs  were 
taken  at  the  Carabinieri  Barracks  in  the  morning  of  the 
whole  of  the  Massed  Bands  and  the  officers ;  groups  of 
officers  ;  and  each  band  separately.  Officers  taken  into 
the  officers'  mess  for  refreshments. 

1918]  THE   BAND  309 

"  Wednesday,  February  27th,  1918. — Roman  Catholics 
in  the  Massed  Bands  were  received  by  the  Pope  in  the 
morning  at  the  Vatican.  Played  at  the  hospital  in  the 
afternoon.  In  the  afternoon  Madame  Tetrazzini  gave  a 
tea  at  the  Grand  Hotel.  Madame  Tetrazzini  sang  several 
songs,  and  then  asked  all  the  men  to  join  in  and  sing 

*  Tipperary,'  which  they  did.  Three  cheers  were  also 
given  for  Madame  Tetrazzini. 

"  Thursday,  February  2Sth,  1918.— Massed  Bands  of 
the  Brigade  of  Guards  marched  through  the  streets  of 
Rome.  Started  an  hour  late  owing  to  a  tram  conveying 
part  of  the  bands  going  wrong.  Marched  past  the  Grand 
Hotel,  through  the  Via  Nationale,  and  up  to  the  Victor 
Emmanuel  Monument.  Bands  played  'Rule,  Britannia ! ' 
and  the  Italian  National  Anthem,  Then  marched  back 
to  the  Carabinieri  Barracks,  first  going  round  the  hospital 
opposite  playing.  Went  to  the  station  in  the  evening, 
where  it  was  raining  slightly.  Enormous  crowds.  Left 
Rome  in  the  same  train  as  we  came  in  at  9.30  p.m. 

"  Friday,  March  1st,  1918. — Arrived  in  Florence  about 
8.30  a.m.  Went  to  the  Grand  Hotel  and  the  Hotel  de 
Ville.  Small  breakfast.  Luncheon  at  Gambino's  Res- 
taurant. Taken  in  motor  ambulances,  etc.,  to  the  Gar- 
den of  the  Royal  Palace,  where  a  concert  was  held.  Did 
not  start  until  4  o'clock  instead  of  2.30.  Band  of  the 
Carabinieri  played  extremely  long  pieces ;  then  the 
American  Band  played  ;  then  the  Band  of  the  Garde 
Republicaine  ;  and  then  the  Massed  Bands — '  Aida  '  and 

*  Tipperary,"  followed  by  Garibaldi's  Hymn.  They 
wanted  the  Massed  Bands  to  march  back  to  the  hotels. 
No  arrangements  for  keeping  back  the  crowds.  Dinner 
at  Gambino's  Restaurant. 

"  Saturday,  March  2nd,  1918. — Train  started  for  Milan 
about  7  a.m.  Stopped  at  Bologna,  and  everyone  was 
given  a  packet  containing  food  and  wine.  Reached 
Milan  about  6.30  p.m. — very  late.  Raining  hard  on 
arrival.  Station  very  dark.  Mayor  welcomed  bands  on 
arrival.  Then  went  to  the  Hotel  Cavour.  Men  housed 
in  barracks  which  had  once  been  a  school  before  the  war. 

"  Sunday,  March  3rd,  1918. — Big  concert  at  the  Scala 

310  THE  BAND  [Chap.  XXIII 

Theatre  in  the  afternoon.  A  fine  sight.  Both  the  Italian 
Band  and  the  French  Band  played  too  long.  Made- 
moiselle Roch,  from  Paris,  recited.  Massed  Bands  re- 
ceived great  ovation — the  success  of  the  afternoon. 
Bands  tried  to  march  ofi  afterwards,  but  no  police 
arrangements  had  been  made  to  keep  back  the  crowds, 
and  they  had  to  break  off. 

"  Monday,  March  ith,  1918.— Very  wet  day.  In  the 
afternoon  a  concert  was  given  at  the  Lyric  Theatre. 
The  house  was  full  of  wounded.  As  usual  the  Massed 
Bands  had  an  enormous  success.  Played  *  Carmen,' 
*  Tipperary,'  and  Garibaldi's  Hymn.  Tea  afterwards  at 
Cova's  Restaurant.'" 

On  the  conclusion  of  this  visit  the  band  remained  in 
Paris  and  gave  a  few  concerts  to  wounded  and  men  on 
leave.  It  then  joined  the  division  for  the  second  tour 
of  duty  which  started  in  Arras  March  10th,  1918. 
Several  successful  concerts  were  given  up  to  March  21st, 
when  the  concerts  ceased.  The  band  was  ordered  out 
of  Arras  at  a  moment's  notice  and  went  to  DouUens. 
The  bandmaster  only  succeeded  in  getting  the  instru- 
ments away  two  days  later.  Four  days  later  the  band 
was  sent  to  Havre,  remaining  there  some  weeks,  giving 
concerts  at  the  hospitals,  etc. 

The  band  rejoined  the  1st  Battalion  at  Warlincourt 
on  May  5th,  and  gave  some  enjoyable  concerts  in  the 
farmyard — Battalion  H.Q. 

On  May  27th,  1918,  at  the  request  of  the  American 
Embassy,  the  band  proceeded  to  Paris,  played  at  the 
Memorial  Service  on  May  30th,  and  also  gave  concerts 
at  the  Leave  Club  on  the  31st.  Capt.  Dudley  Ward  was 
in  command  of  this  party. 

The  band  returned  to  England  on  June  1st.  Two 
other  important  engagements  were  the  National  Eistedd- 
fod of  1918  and  1919  at  Neath  and  Corwen.  It  was  also 
detailed  for  duty  with  the  British  Contingent  in  Paris 
in  connection  with  the  Great  Victory  March  on  July  14th, 
1919,  and  had  the  honour  of  playing  the  Colours  of  the 
British  Army  through  the  Arc  de  Triomphe. 


By  Captain  G.  C.  H.  Crawshay 

The  Welsh  Guards,  since  tlie  day  of  their  formation  on 
February  27th,  1915,  have  actively  associated  themselves 
with  Wales  and  all  things  Welsh.  Welsh  by  birth,  they 
have  in  every  way  portrayed  the  social  characteristics 
of  their  country.  Singing,  boxing,  and  Rugby  football 
have  ever  been  prominent  pastimes  in  the  regiment ;  but 
it  is  through  the  mediimi  of  the  first-named  that  they 
have  drawn  nearest  to  the  heart  of  Wales  and  established 
their  right  to  the  name  they  bear.  They  have  sung  at 
home  and  overseas ;  in  the  barrack-room  and  in  the 
firing-line ;  in  the  light  of  life  and  in  the  shadow  of  death ; 
of  joy  and  sorrow,  of  hope  and  despair  ;  of  things  earthly 
and  of  things  heavenly.  Song  being  the  natural  ex- 
pression of  the  Welshman's  feelings,  they  ofttimes  have 
foregathered  to  extol  their  national  heroes  and  sing  of 
their  country's  freedom.  Their  voices  have  rejoiced 
Generals  and  others  of  God's  humbler  subjects,  who  have 
travelled  far  by  motor  and  on  foot  to  hear  what  will 
always  be  known  as  the  Welsh  Guards'  Choir. 

The  overwhelming  desire  to  sing  which  seems  to 
possess  every  Welshman  has  been  responsible  for  the 
formation  of  many  Regimental  Choirs,  which  through 
good  organisation  and  training  have  attained  a  high 
standard.  It  is  that  natural  outburst  of  Celtic  tempera- 
ment, combined  with  a  natural  gift  of  harmony,  which 
gives  Welsh  part-singing  its  distinctive  charm.     The 

21  311 

312  THE  CHOIR  [Chap.  XXIV 

chief  incentive  of  eacli  choir  has  been  their  love  of  sing- 
ing, while  warmth  of  tone  and  depth  of  colour  have 
always  been  outstanding  characteristics. 

The  first  two  organised  Welsh  Guards'  Choirs  were 
formed  simultaneously  early  in  May  1915,  before  the 
1st  Battalion  left  for  France ;  the  one  with  the  1st 
Battalion  at  Sandown  Park,  Esher,  the  other  with  the 
9th  Company,  Welsh  Guards,  at  the  Guards'  Depot, 
Caterham.  The  1st  Battalion  Choir,  which  was  organ- 
ised bv  Capt.  Wilfred  Gough,  and  of  which  No.  53 
C.Q.M.S.  S.  Rendeland  No.  737  Guardsman  G.  Williams 
(afterwards  sergeant)  acted  as  joint  conductors, numbered 
about  forty  voices.  Their  first  performance  was  at  a 
regimental  concert  at  Esher,  attended  by  a  large  number 
of  local  people.  Such  was  their  success  that  the  choir 
at  once  became  an  institution  which  was  destined  to  be 
permanently  associated  with  the  regiment.  This  choir 
later  sang  at  the  Steinway  Hall,  Albert  Hall,  and  many 
private  houses. 

The  Depot  Choir,  in  which  Capt.  Osmond  Williams, 
D.S.O.,  took  a  great  personal  interest,  and  of  which  No. 
1,651  Guardsman  (afterwards  Sergt.)  W.  T.  Jones  acted  as 
conductor,  was  the  outcome  of  men  spontaneously  gath- 
ering together  in  the  evening  and  singing  the  old  Welsh 
hymns,  "Aberystwyth,"  "  Ton-y-Botel,"  and  "  Cwm 
Rhondda."  Capt.  Williams  was  enthusiastic,  and  after 
four  days  of  practice  the  choir,  over  a  hundred  strong, 
gave  their  first  public  performance  in  the  Drill  Hall, 
Caterham,  their  repertoire  including  "  Cydgan-y-Mor- 
wyr,"  "  Comrades  in  Arms,"  "  Harlech,"  and  "  The 
Soldier's  Farewell."  They  created  such  an  impression 
that  it  still  survives  in  the  memory  of  the  residents  of 
Caterham  Valley,  most  of  whom  had  never  previously 
heard  a  Welsh  Choir.  On  July  24th^l915,  fifty  picked 
voices  of  the  same  choir  travelled  to  Cardiff,  under  the 
command  of  Capt.  Osmond  Williams,  D.S.O.,  and  Capt. 
Viscount  Clive  (both  of  whom  later  fell  fighting  for  the 
regiment),  and  there  gave  a  concert  in  the  Park  Hall, 
which  was  attended  by  the  Lord  Mayor,  the  Corporation, 
and  many  local  people.    The  choir  not  only  greatly  en- 

1915]  THE   CHOIR  313 

hanced  its  reputation,  but  also  did  much  to  stimulate 
recruiting  for  the  regiment. 

From  August  17th,  1915  (the  date  on  which  the  bat- 
talion proceeded  overseas),  the  regiment  has  possessed 
as  a  rule  no  less  than  three  distinct  choirs — the  Depot 
Choir,  the  Reserve  Battalion  Choir  and  the  1st  Battalion 
Choir.  This  system  proved  very  satisfactory,  for  many 
men,  after  enlistment  in  the  regiment,  became  members 
of  each  choir  in  turn,  while  the  training  which  they 
received  at  home  proved  of  the  greatest  help  to  the 
1st  Battalion  Choir  overseas,  which  for  long  periods 
was  unable  to  practise.  It  is  impossible,  in  so  short 
a  space,  to  write  a  detailed  history,  however  brief, 
of  the  various  regimental  choirs ;  but  the  list  and 
notes  in  the  appendix  will  act  as  a  guide  to  the 
work  accomplished,  while  the  names  of  the  principal 
conductors,  together  with  the  more  important  engage- 
ments of  their  respective  choirs,  will  enable  many  ex- 
Welsh  Guardsmen  to  trace  the  choirs  of  which  they  were 
members.  Hospital,  church,  battalion,  and  regimental 
concerts,  which  were  of  weekly  occurrence,  are  not  as  a 
rule  included,  and  the  1st  Battalion,  Reserve  Battalion, 
and  Depot  Choirs  are  as  far  as  possible  kept  distinct. 

This  history  would  not  be  complete  without  further 
mention  of  the  first  choir  in  the  annals  of  the  regiment 
to  compete  in  the  National  Eisteddfod  of  Wales. 

The  choir,  which  was  personally  organised  and  super- 
vised by  Capt.  G.  C.  H.  Crawshay,  and  of  which  No.  3,707 
Cpl.  J.  Davies  and  No.  2,928  Guardsman  J.  Witcomb, 
A.R.C.O.,  acted  respectively  as  conductor  and  accom- 
panist, was  formed  in  April  1918  at  the  Guards'  Depot, 
Caterham.  Although  it  contained  many  old  soldiers,  its 
formation  was  made  possible  by  the  Government's  final 
recruiting  rally,  when  some  thousands  of  miners  through- 
out Great  Britain  were  released  for  service  in  the  Army. 
It  was  at  once  realised  that  with  the  material  to  hand, 
and  with  three  or  four  clear  months  in  which  to  practise 
before  the  men  would  be  ready  to  leave  the  depot, 
opportunities  presented  themselves  for  the  formation  of 
a  choir  the  standard  and  strength  of  which  circumstances 

314  THE   CHOIR  [Chap.  XXIV 

had  not  previously  permitted.  The  choir,  during  the 
whole  course  of  its  training  at  Caterham,  practised  two 
hours  a  day,  Saturdays  and  Sundays  included.  Their 
first  big  public  performance  was  at  a  regimental  concert 
given  at  the  Apollo  Theatre,  London,  on  June  11th,  1918, 
which  was  the  means  of  bringing  £500  to  the  Regimental 
Prisoners  of  War  and  Comforts'  Fund.  On  August  5th, 
1918,  the  choir,  eighty  strong,  left  for  Neath,  to  compete 
in  the  male  voice  competition  at  the  National  Eisteddfod. 
On  arrival  they  were  met  by  some  3,000  people,  and 
amidst  considerable  excitement  were  played  to  their 
quarters  by  the  band  of  H.M.  Welsh  Guards,  under 
Lieut.  Andrew  Harris,  L.R.A.M.  On  August  6th  and 
8th  they  took  part  in  the  Ceremony  of  the  Gorsedd, 
joining  in  the  procession  and  forming  a  circle  round  the 
Logan  Stone  (Maen  Llog)  to  keep  the  ground  while  the 
addresses  were  delivered.  This  action  on  the  part  of  the 
authorities  in  asking  representatives  of  the  Army  to 
guard  the  sacred  Gorsedd  Circle  is  without  precedent  in 
the  annals  of  Eisteddfodau.  They  could  have  paid  no 
greater  compliment  to  the  regiment.  The  Gorsedd  has 
from  time  immemorial  been  regarded  as  a  purely  civil 
and  religious  ceremony,  from  which  the  military  have 
been  rigorously  excluded  ;  but  in  the  Welsh  Guards  the 
Druids  saw  not  the  old-time  band  of  hired  assassins,  but 
Welshmen  of  their  own  blood  w^hose  ideals,  love  of  home, 
and  pride  of  race,  were  also  theirs  ;  Welshmen  fired  with 
all  their  ancient  ardour,  once  more  fighting  for  Hen  Wlad, 
led  by  the  descendant  of  the  Saxon  King  who  gave  his 
eldest  son  to  be  their  Prince. 

On  Thursday,  August  8th,  the  choir  competed  in  the 
male  voice  competition.  On  mounting  the  platform  they 
received  a  welcome  which  will  never  be  forgotten,  the 
vast  audience  of  some  15,000  people  rising  to  their  feet, 
and  cheering  again  and  again. 

The  result  of  the  competition  was  not  announced  until 
nearly  6  o'clock,  by  which  time  the  audience  were  in  a 
state  of  the  utmost  excitement.  Dr.  Vaughan  Thomas 
gave  the  adjudication  in  the  test  piece,  "  Here's  to 
Admiral  Death,"  of  which  he  himself  was  the  composer. 

1918]  THE    CHOIR  315 

Of  the  fourteen  competing  choirs  Williamstown  was 
placed  first  with  ninety-two  marks,  the  Welsh  Guards 
second  with  eighty-two.  The  result  was  received  with 
acclamation,  it  being  everywhere  recognised  that  the 
Williamstown  Choir  had  given  the  finest  sustained  ren- 
dering of  the  piece,  while  that  of  the  Welsh  Guards,  with 
the  exception  of  the  opening  phrases,  was  of  equal  merit. 
It  is  never  wise  to  make  excuses,  more  especially  when 
everyone  has  cause  to  be  satisfied,  but  if  the  opening 
phrases  had  been  rendered  as  they  hitherto  had  been  at 
practices  the  Regimental  Choir  would  certainly  not  have 
been  ten  marks  behind  the  winners.  Nervousness  was 
largely  responsible  for  this  defect,  while  the  first  tenors 
suffered  from  the  loss  of  their  leader, No.  5,376  Guardsman 
S.  Jenkins,  who  was  suffering  from  a  severe  cold  and 
was  unable  to  sing.  There  can  be  no  doubt  that  the 
choir,  as  it  was,  achieved  a  really  remarkable  success 
from  a  musical  standpoint.  The  first  practice  of  the  test 
piece  was  not  held  until  the  end  of  June,  and  in  two 
months  they  proved  that  they  could  hold  their  own  with 
choirs  in  Wales  that  had  practised  for  over  six.  Credit 
for  their  performance  must  be  given,  not  only  to  the 
conductor,  Cpl.  Davies,  whose  natural  genius  and  Celtic 
temperament  enabled  him  to  bring  out  in  each  individual 
member  that  sense  of  artistic  interpretation  with  which 
Welshmen  are  born,  but  also  to  the  choir  as  a  body,  who 
never  failed  to  attend  daily  practices  after  parade  hours, 
when  most  men  were  only  too  glad  to  rest. 

Owing  to  the  large  number  of  competitors,  a  special 
prize  was  offered  for  the  choir  which  proved  to  be  the 
quickest  and  smartest  in  mounting  and  leaving  the 
platform.  Mr.  Thomas  Powell,  Inspector  of  Schools, 
Neath,  announced  after  the  adjudication  that  the 
Welsh  Guards  had  been  awarded  this  prize. 

In  the  past  the  various  choirs  have  only  been  main- 
tained with  the  greatest  difficulty ;  casualties  abroad 
and  draft-finding  at  home  constantly  caused  changes  of 
membership,  while  heavy  duties  prevented  practices. 
But,  in  spite  of  every  obstacle  and  disadvantage,  it  has 
always  been  possible,  both  with  the  battalion  at  home 

316  THE  CHOIR  [Chap.  XXIV 

and  overseas,  to  produce  at  an  hour's  notice  a  choir  of 
some  thirty  to  fifty  voices  capable  of  satisfying  the  most 
critical  of  ears.  It  was  mainly  owing  to  the  perseverance 
of  these  choirs  that  Col.  Sir  Henry  Webb,  Bt.,  saw  fit  to 
endow  the  Welsh  Guards  Choir  with  the  sum  of  £5,000,  as 
a  lasting  memorial  to  his  son,  2/Lieut.  Basil  Webb,  Welsh 
Guards,  who  fell  in  action  on  the  Somme.  Taking  into 
consideration  the  difficulties  surmounted  in  the  past,  a 
bright  future  for  the  choir  may  be  confidently  predicted, 
provided  that  the  rank  and  file  of  the  regiment  be  com- 
posed of  Welshmen.  Throughout  the  war  this  has  been 
the  case — may  it  continue  to  be  so  in  peace  time,  in 
order  that  the  regiment  may  always  be  represented  at 
the  National  Eisteddfod,  and  as  in  Wales  a  certain 
county  is  known  as  the  "  Little  England  within  Wales," 
60  may  in  England  the  regimental  quarters  be  known 
as  "  The  Little  Wales  within  England,"  its  inhabitants 
both  in  peace  and  war  worthily  justifying  its  motto — 

"Y  Draig  Goch  y  ddyry  Gychwyn," 


GUARDS,  AUGUST  3rd,  1915 


1.  The  battalion  wiU  be  formed  up  in  three  sides  of  a 
square  facing  Buckingham  Palace.  Band  in  rear.  Colours 
cased  in  rear  of  battalion  in  charge  of  the  senior  drill- 
sergeant  and  two  colour-sergeants. 

2.  Battalion  :  Order — Arms,  Fix — Bayonets,  Slope — A^-ms, 
Open  Order — March. 

3.  Battalion  :  Royal  Salute,  Present — Arms,  Slope — Arms, 
Order — Arms. — On  His  Majesty  arriving  at  the  saluting 
point  the  royal  salute  wiU  be  given.  On  His  Majesty  ad- 
vancing to  make  his  inspection  the  battalion  will  Order 

4.  His  Majesty  inspects  battalion. 

5.  Drums  and  Colours  to  the  Front. — AU  the  drummers 
pass  through  the  centre  of  the  line  and  pile  their  drums, 
turn  about  and  march  back  to  their  original  places.  The 
colour  party  wiU  lay  the  Colours  on  the  pile  of  drums,  the 
King's  Colour  being  on  the  right  and  also  on  the  top.  They 
will  then  turn  about  and  march  back,  taking  up  their  posi- 
tion in  the  front  rank  in  the  centre  of  the  line. 

6.  Officers  for  Colours  :  Quick — March. — The  four  officers 
detailed  wiU  return  their  swords,  advance,  uncase  the  Colours 
and  replace  them  on  the  drums.  The  senior  major  and 
senior  lieutenant  wiU  uncase  the  Bang's  Colour,  the  junior 
major  and  junior  lieutenant  wiU  uncase  the  Regimental 

By  Senior  Major's  command  :  About — Turn,  Quick — 
March,  Halt,  About — Turn. — They  wiU  then  fall  in,  facing 


318  APPENDIX   A 

the  pile  of  drums,  at  twelve  paces  from  drums,  seniors  on 
the  outer  flanks.  The  Commanding  Officer  will  take  place 
in  front  of  the  centre  of  this  line. 

7.  Battalion  Stand  at  Ease,  Glee  Singers  to  the  Front. 

8.  Consecration. — After  the  Consecration  Prayer,  "  Ton  y 
Botel  "  will  be  sung. 

9.  Battalion  :  Attention,  Olee  Singers  to  your  Companies, 
Quick — March. — Immediately  after  the  Dedication  "  Hen 
Wlad  Fy  Nhadau  "  ("  Land  of  my  Fathers  "). 

10.  By  Senior  Major  :  Officers  for  Colours,  Quick — March. 
— The  two  lieutenants  will  fall  in  in  front  of  His  Majesty  and 
kneel  on  the  right  knee.  The  two  majors  will  take  the 
Colours,  advance  towards  His  Majesty,  and  face  inwards. 
The  senior  major  will  hand  the  King's  Colour  to  His  Majesty, 
who  wiU  hand  it  to  the  senior  lieutenant.  The  junior  major 
will  hand  the  Regimental  Colour  to  His  Majesty,  who  will 
hand  it  to  the  junior  lieutenant.  When  both  lieutenants 
have  received  the  Colours  they  will  rise,  and  the  two  majors 
wiU  turn  towards  the  drums. 

11.  By  Senior  Major  :  Officers  Quick — March. — The  lieu- 
tenants will  step  back  to  the  pile  of  drums,  the  majors  wiU 
place  themselves  in  line  with  the  two  lieutenants,  turn  about 
and  draw  swords.  The  lieutenants  will  bring  the  Colours 
to  the  order.  The  Commanding  Officer  will  place  himself 
in  front  of  the  centre  of  this  line. 

12.  His  Majesty's  address.  The  Commanding  Officer's 

13.  Drummers  and  Escort  to  the  Colours  to  the  Front. — The 
drummers  wiU  again  pass  through  the  line,  removing  the 
pile  of  drums,  and  return  to  their  places.  The  two  majors 
will  turn  outwards,  step  off  in  quick  time,  and  return  to 
their  places.  The  two  lieutenants  will  take  one  pace  out- 
wards and  carry  Colours.  The  escort  to  Colours  will  advance 
in  quick  time,  placing  themselves  alongside  the  lieutenants 
with  the  Colours. 

14.  Escort  and  Colours  :  About — Turn. — They  wiU  turn 
about  and  Colours  will  be  unfurled. 

15.  General  Salute  :  Present — Arms. — Band  plays  the 
general  salute. 

16.  Colour  Party  :  Slow — March. — This  command  will  be 
given  by  the  Commanding  Officer  when  band  has  finished 
the  General  Salute,     Band  plays  National  Anthem.     Tbo 

APPENDIX   A  319 

colour  party  will  halt  at  the  place  in  line  with  the  front  rank 
in  the  centre  of  the  battalion  and  turn  about  on  the  lieu- 
tenant's word  of  command. 

17.  Battalion  :  Slope — Arms,  Close  Order — March. 

18.  Battalion  :  Form  Fours — Right,  Quick — March,  Left — 
Wheel,  At  the  Halt,  facing  left,  Form  close  Column. 

19.  March  Past  by  Companies  by  the  Right. — The  Com- 
mander of  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  wiU  give  the 
command  Prince  of  Wales^s  Company — By  the  right  quick 
march.  The  remaining  companies  following  in  succession 
at  forty  paces  distance. 

20.  At  the  Halt  Close  Column. — The  commands  will  be 
given  by  senior  major. 

21.  In  Succession  Advance  in  Fours  from  the  Right  :  Left 
—  Wheel,  Left — Wheel. — The  command  wiU  be  given  by 
senior  major. 

22.  Battalion  :  Left — Wheel,  Mark  Time  in  Front,  Halt, 
Left — Turn,  On  Markers,  Right — Dress. — The  battalion  will 
now  be  in  three  sides  of  a  square  in  original  formation. 

23.  Royal  Salute:  Present — Arms. — The  officers  will  salute 
and  the  Colours  will  be  lowered 

24.  Slope — Arms,  Order — Arms,  Caps — Off,  Three  Cheers 
for  His  Mafesty  the  King,  Unfix — Bayonets,  Slope — Arms, 
Move  to  the  Right  in  Fours,  Form — Fours,  Right,  Quick — 
March,  Left — Wheel. — The  last  word  of  command  (left  wheel) 
will  be  given  when  the  battalion  reaches  the  gravel  path  in 
front  of  the  Palace,  the  battalion  passing  His  Majesty  in 
column  of  route.  As  each  company  arrives  within  ten  paces 
of  His  Majesty  the  command  will  be  given  Eyes — Right  by 
the  Platoon  Commander,  who  will  give  Eyes — Front  when 
the  rear  of  the  platoon  has  passed.  The  officers  wiU  carry 
swords  until  the  command  Eyes — Front  is  given.  The 
drums  wiU  place  themselves  in  front  of  the  battaUon  on  the 
command  Unfix  Bayonets.  The  band  wiU  remain  standing 
in  their  place  at  the  rear  of  the  battalion  when  in  line,  and 
will  march  off  in  rear  of  the  last  company. 

{Signed)  W.  Mtjeray-Threipland, 
Lieutenant-Colonel  Commanding  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 



The  actual  orders  for  the  attack  at  Loos  were  verbal.     We 
give  the  Brigade  Operation  Order  : 

3rd  Guards'  Brigade 
(1)  OPERATION    ORDER    NO.    5 

Ref.  Map  Trench  Map  36.c.  N.W.,  Sheet  3  and  part  of  1. 

1.  The  2nd  Guards  Brigade  is  attacking  at  4  p.m.  with 
objectives  (1)  Chalk  Pit,  (2)  Puits  14.b.  (Keep). 

2.  If  the  2nd  Brigade  is  successful  the  3rd  Guards  Brigade 
which  will  have  previously  moved  to  a  place  of  readiness 
in  Loos,  will  attack  Hill  70,  H.31.C.  and  d. 

3.  The  brigade  will  march  in  the  following  order  to  the 
place  of  readiness — starting-point  No.  3  Level  Crossing — at 
2  p.m.,  500  yards  between  battalions  : 

4th  Grenadier  Guards. 

1  sect.  Machine  Gim  Company  [to  be  detailed  by 

1st  Welsh  Guards. 
1  sect.  Machine  Gun  Company  [to  be  detailed  by 

Machine  Gun  Company  [less  two  sections]. 
2nd  Scots  Guards. 
1st  Grenadier  Guards. 
Brigade  tool-carts. 
55th  Company  R.E.  (less  pontoon  wagons). 

4.  Each  battalion  will  detail  an  officer  to  march  with  4th 
Grenadier  Guards,  who  will  reconnoitre  a  position  of  readi- 
ness for  the  battaUon  and  lead  it  to  that  place. 

5.  Two  small  S.A.A.  carts  and  tool-carts  will  accompany 
each  battalion. 


APPENDIX   B  321 

6.  The  Brigade  Ammunition  Reserve,  under  Lieut.  Lam- 
bert, 4th  Grenadier  Guards,  will  be  at  14.b.  1.3,  and  will  be 
moved  forward  to  Loos,  starting  from  the  former  place  at 
5.30  p.m. 

7.  The  remainder  of  1st  Line  Transport  will  remain  at 
present  billets  under  Lieut.  Lord  Stanley,  1st  Grenadier 

8.  Reports  to  Fort  Glatz  G.39.C.  at  3  p.m. 
3rd  Guards  Brigade  1.50  p.m. 

R.  Tempest, 

Brigade  Major. 


1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards 


Chau.  Trois  Tours, 

June  2Uh,  1916. 

Ref.  Secret  Trench  Map  St.  Julien,  Sheet  28,  N.W.  2. 

1.  On  the  night  of  June  30th,  July  1st,  or  July  lst/2nd, 
the  battahon  will  capture  the  Mortaldje  Estaminet  and 
approaches  thereto. 

2.  Object  of  the  Attack. — To  turn  the  enemy  out  of  the 
Estaminet  and  prevent  the  future  use  of  same  by  them  for 
observing  and  offensive  purposes  ;  and  to  hold  same  for 
our  observation  and  possible  future  advance. 

3.  Artillery. — The  attack  will  be  prepared  and  assisted  by 
artillery,  trench  mortar  and  Stokes  guns.  On  the  day  fixed 
for  the  attack,  the  artillery  will  bombard  and  knock  in  the 
three  communication-trenches  running  from  German  line 
to  Mortaldje  Estaminet.  The  artillery  will  also  bombard 
certain  selected  points  in  German  front  line  and  second  line  ; 
from  Canadian  Farm  to  the  road,  running  from  Turco  Farm 
to  Chemins  Estaminet.  An  artillery  barrage  will  commence 
and  continue  during  the  night  of  the  attack  round  the  front 
of  the  Estaminet. 

4.  Objective. — The  objective  of  the  attack  wiU  be  the 
trench  running  round  the  north  side  of  the  Estaminet  Mort- 
aldje Estaminet.  The  communication  trenches  running  in 
at  the  east  and  west  side  of  Estaminet  will  be  blown  up  and 
blocked  at  a  point  fifty  yards  each  side  of  Estaminet, 



5.  Communication  Trenches. — During  the  operations  two 
communication  trenches  will  be  dug  from  our  front  line 
immediately  south  of  Estaminet,  to  connect  to  posts  held 
at  Estaminet.     These  wiU  be  wired  on  the  outsides. 

6.  Procedure  after  Attack. — On  attack  succeeding,  all  troops 
will  be  withdra\\Ti  from  Estaminet  or  trench  north  thereof 
before  daylight,  with  the  exception  of  two  posts,  position 
and  strength  of  which  wiU  be  decided  upon  by  O.C.  Attack, 
and  which  two  posts  will  be  held. 

7.  0.0.  Attack.— C&^t.  H.  Dene  will  be  the  O.C.  Attack. 

8.  Composition  of  Party. — The  attack  will  be  carried  out 
by  No.  4  Company,  under  Capt.  G.  C.  L.  Insole.  Half  the 
company  in  garrison  at  Vicars  Lane  will  be  placed  at  dis- 
posal of  O.C.  Attack,  and  will  come  under  his  orders  for  the 
night  of  the  attack. 

9.  Consolidation. — O.C.  Attack  will  arrange  not  only  for 
taking  and  holding  Estaminet,  but  also  for  wiring,  digging 
communications,  and  consolidating  the  position. 

10.  Signalling. — The  Adjutant  will  be  responsible  for  com- 
munications between  O.C.  Battalion  and  battle  station  of 
O.C.  Attack.  The  O.C.  Attack  will  be  responsible  for  com- 
munications between  him  and  O.C.  No.  4  Company  at 

11.  Stores. — Stores  as  per  Appendix  A  will  be  available 
on  the  night  of  attack  at  place  mentioned  therein,  which 
will  be  in  one  of  the  front-line  trenches  held  by  the  battalion. 

Copies  issued : 

O.C.  Prince  of  Wales's  Company 

„     No.  2  Company 

„     No.  3 

„     No.  4 
H.Q.  3rd  Guards  Brigade 

Retained   . 

Copy  No. 


J.  A.  Dyson  Perkins, 
Lieutenant,  Adjutant  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 

The  following  stores  will  be  available  at  a  dump  to  be 
chosen  by  the  O.C.  Noj  4  Company  by  2  a.m.  July  1st,  1916  : 

Wire,  concertina,  coils  . 
Wire,  French,  rolls 
Wire,  barbed,  rolls 
Posts,  screw,  long 



Posts,  screw,  short 


Staples,  box 

Hedging-gloves     .          .          .          . 

Wirecutters  .... 




Sandbags      .          .          .          .          . 


Spades           .... 
Picks  ...... 


S.A.A.  boxes 


MiUs  grenades 

.      960 

Mills  grenades  adapted 

Verey  pistols 

Verey  lights,  1  inch  and  li  inch 


.      120 

each  size 


Rockets,  spray 
Water-cans,  filled 


Rations,  tinned    . 


Nosebags      .... 


Tape,  white 

feet  800 


J.  A.  Dyson  Perkins, 
Lieutenant,  Adjutant  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 


Addenda  to  Operation  Orders  d/24-6-16 

1.  If  it  is  found  by  the  leading  unit  that  the  machine  guns 
are  still  in  position  and  firing  from  the  saps  at  the  Estaminet 
the  company  is  not  to  be  put  over  our  parapet,  and  must  wait 
to  carry  out  the  operation  until  they  are  silenced  either  by 
the  Stokes  or  a  new  bompardment. 

2.  The  3rd  Guards  Brigade  Stokes  Mortar  Battery  will 
act  under  the  orders  of  Capt.  H.  Dene,  and  during  and  after 
the  attack  will  engage  enemy  machine  guns, 

3.  The  garrisons  of  D.20,  D.21  will  co-operate  with  the 
attack  by  bringing  rifle  and  Lewis-gun  fire  to  bear  on  the 
High  Command  Redoubt.  They  will  also  be  prepared  to 
reply  to  hostile  fire  directed  on  to  the  Estaminet  from  these 
localities,  but  this  fire  will  only  be  opened  in  retahation  for 
enemy  activity  or  on  receipt  of  "S.O.S.,"  and  the  import- 
ance of  allowing  consolidation  to  proceed  in  peace  must  be 
borne  in  mind. 

4.  The  medical  officer  will  establish  his  dressing-station 
at  Butt.  7,  the  9th  Field  Ambulance  will  establish  a  post  at 
Belle  Alliance.     Wounded  wiU  be  evacuated  via  Boundary 

324  APPENDIX   B 

Road  or  Foch  Lane  and  the  Burnt  Farm  Road  or  Coney 

5.  All  watches  will  be  set  at  12  noon,  8  p.m.  and  10  p.m., 
time  being  telephoned  from  Brigade  H.Q. 

6.  Prisoners  will  be  sent  to  Brigade  H.Q.  under  escort. 
They  will  be  searched  as  soon  as  possible. 

7.  BattaHon  H.Q.  will  be  at  Belle  Alliance,  The  O.C. 
Attack  will  be  at  Butt.  7,  the  O.C.  No.  4  Company  will  be 
junction  of  Y  and  L  Trench  and  B.  17a.  Coney  Street  will 
not  be  used  after  9  p.m.  except  for  the  evacuation  of 
wounded.  Orderlies  wiU  proceed  by  Boundary  Road  or 
east  of  it. 

8.  In  the  event  of  an  enemy  counter  attack  during  the 
night  the  "  S.O.S."  signal  will  be  sent  by  wire  and  visual 
and  a  para  rocket,  emitting  stars  intermingled  with  gold 
and  silver  rain,  will  be  sent  up.  This  message  will  only  be 
used  if  the  enemy  attacks  and  must  not  be  employed  to 
obtain  retaliation.  These  rockets  will  be  issued  to  O.C. 
No.  4  Company  and  will  be  sent  up  from  his  headquarters. 

J.  A.  Dyson  Perkins, 
Lieutenant,  Adjutant  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 
June  ZQth,  1916. 

1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards 


September  8th,  1916. 


Ref.  Map,  Sheet  57.c.  S.W.  Longueval.    , 

1.  The  16th  Division  will  attack  £i-om  a  line  approxi- 
mately T.20.d.2.5.— T.19.S.5.5  at  4  p.m.  the  9th  inst.,  and 
capturealineT.13.b.5.8— CrossRoadsT.14.s.5.5— T.14.C.5.5 
— T.14.d.9.3. 

The  XIV  Corps  will  co-operate  in  the  attack  and  will 
advance  its  right  to  T.13.a. 

The  16th  Division  will  be  relieved  by  the  3rd  Guards 
Brigade  in  their  new  line  on  the  night  of  September  9th/ 10th. 

The  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards  will  take  over  the  sector 
T.13.b.5.8— T.14.a.5.4. 

The  4th  BattaUon  Grenadier  Guards  will  take  over  the 
sector  T.14.a.5.8—T.14.c.5. 6— T.14.d.9.3. 

APPENDIX    B  325 

The  above  dispositions  are  Kable  to  alteration  if  the  attack 
of  the  16th  Division  does  not  reach  its  allotted  objective. 

2.  Dispositions  of  companies  will  be  given  when  the  Com- 
manding Officer  returns  from  the  line  to-morrow  afternoon. 

The  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  wdll  be  on  the  right  ; 
No.  2  Company  on  the  left,  with  Nos.  3  and  4  Companies 
in  support. 

A  section  of  machine  guns  will  be  told  off  to  the  battahon. 

Two  companies  of  R.E.  will  be  engaged  in  building  strong 
points,  one  in  the  north-west  corner  of  Ginchy  and  two  to 
the  north  of  Ginchy,  to-morrow  night. 

3.  Officers  Commanding  Companies,  both  in  front  and 
support  lines,  will  lose  no  time  in  siting  trenches  and  digging 
themselves  in. 

4.  Organisation  of  Companies. — One  bombing  squad  of  one 
N.C.O.,  eight  men,  and  one  MiUs  rifle  grenade  man  will  be 
organised  in  each  platoon. 

Twenty-three  bomb-carrying  bags  and  four  cups  Mills 
have  been  issued  to  companies  to-day.  They  wiU  be  carried 
by  their  bombing  squads. 

Twelve  Mills  bomb  pin  extractors  have  also  been  issued 
per  company. 

All  Lewis-gun  magazines  wiU  be  taken  up  fiUed, 

Stretcher-bearers  will  accompany  companies,  except  the 
new  men  in  training,  who  will  march  with  Battalion  H.Q. 

5.  Companies  wiU  proceed  to  the  trenches  in  "  Fighting 
Order  "  : 

Web  equipment,  less  pack. 

Cape  or  waterproof  with  jersey  to  be  worn  roUed,  on  belt 
at  back. 

Haversack  to  be  worn  between  the  shoulders  and  to 
contain  emergency  rations  and  two  days''  rations. 

Two  gas-hehnets. 

Two  sandbags  to  be  carried  tied  on  to  the  braces. 

Two  bombs,  one  in  each  pocket. 

Two  bandoKers  (which  will  be  issued  at  Carnoy). 

A  proportion  of  picks  and  shovels  (which  will  be  issued 
at  Carnoy). 

Wirecutters,  Verey  lights,  and  Verey  ammunition  to  be 
carried  by  those  detailed. 

Bombers.  Same  dress  and  equipment,  except  that  twenty- 
three  bombers  per  company  will  carry  a  canvas  bag  con- 

326  APPENDIX   B 

taming  eighteen  bombs  or  Mills  adaptors  instead  of  the 
extra  bandoliers. 

Packs  will  be  dumped  under  arrangements  to  be  notified 

6.  Two  signallers  will  go  with  each  company.  A  receiving- 
station  (visual)  will  be  established  at  Battahon  H.Q.  and 
two  reading  groups  will  be  pushed  forward  to  get  into 
communication  with  companies. 

Telephone  communication  will  be  established  if  possible. 
A  post  for  directing  orderlies  coming  from  the  companies 
to  Battalion  H.Q.  will  be  placed  at  Waterlot  Farm. 

7.  A  contact  aeroplane  will  be  up  over  the  position  from 
5.30  a.m.  to  8  a.m.  on  the  morning  of  the  10th  inst.  Front 
line  companies  wiU  indicate  their  position  by  flashing  tin 
discs,  and  lighting  flares  at  6  a.m. 

These  flares  wiU  be  issued  to-morrow. 

8.  Nine  S.O.S.  rockets  will  be  issued  to  companies  in 
front  line  and  six  to  companies  in  support  before  proceeding 
to  the  line. 

The  current  S.O.S.  signal  is  three  red  rockets. 

9.  Battalion  H.Q.  on  the  night  September  9/ 10th  will  be 
at  approximately  S.lS.c.l.l,  but  wiU  probably  be  advanced 
nearer  Ginchy  the  following  day. 

10.  There  is  believed  to  be  a  dump  of  water  at  the  north- 
west corner  of  Bernafay  Wood  and  a  dump  of  tools  at  the 
south-west  corner  of  the  same  wood. 

It  is  not  known  if  there  are  any  dumps  of  S.A.A.  or  bombs 
near  Ginchy.  Officers  Commanding  Companies  will  take 
steps  to  form  reserves  collected  off  casualties. 

11.  The  propping  party  will  reassemble  under  2/Lieut.  A. 
Gibbs  to-morrow  at  a  time  and  place  to  be  notified  later. 

12.  Arrangements  will  be  made  to  pick  up  water  by 
Bernafay  Wood  as  companies  pass.  Water-bottles  will  be 
filled  from  the  water-carts  before  going  into  trenches,  and 
men  are  warned  to  use  them  sparingly.  The  water  taken 
up  may  be  all  that  is  available  for  companies  till  Monday 

J.  A.  Dyson  Perrests,  Lieutenant. 

Adjutant  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 


APPENDIX   B  327 


1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards 


September  Hth,  1916. 
Ref.  Map  57.C.S.W.  1/20,000. 

1.  The  Fourth  Army  will  attack  the  enemy's  defences 
between  Combles  Ravine  and  Martinpuich  on  September  15th 
with  the  object  of  seizing  Morval,  Les  Bceufs,  Guedecourt 
and  Flers. 

The  French  are  attacking  on  the  south  and  Reserve  Army 
in  the  north.  The  6th  Division  are  attacking  on  the  right 
of  the  Guards  Division  and  the  14th  Division  on  the  left. 

The  division  is  attacking  with  2nd  Guards  Brigade  on  the 
right  and  the  1st  Guards  Brigade  on  the  left. 

2.  The  3rd  Guards  Brigade  will  be  in  divisional  reserve, 
and  will  be  formed  up  on  night  September  14/ 15th  in  and 
east  of  Trones  Wood. 

The  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards  will  be  along  west  edge 
of  the  wood. 

At  zero  plus  1  hour  30  minutes  the  brigade  wiU  advance, 
and  the  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards  will  move  to  a  position 
north-west  of  the  1st  Battahon  Grenadier  Guards,  who  will 
be  in  vicinity  of  Guillemont  Station.  The  left  of  the  bat- 
talion will  be  about  Waterlot  Farm. 

Separate  orders  for  the  march  to  Trones  Wood  will  be 

3.  Fighting  order  as  under  will  be  worn  : 

1  day's  rations. 
1  iron  ration. 

1  ration  of  Oxo  and  chewing-gum. 
1  haversack  ration. 
3  bombs. 

1  Mills  rifle-bomb. 
200  rounds  S.A.A. 
Pick  or  shovel. 
Signallers,  orderlies,  and  carrying  parties  will  not  carry 
bombs  or  full  complement  S.A.A, 

4.  Battahon  Sapping  Platoon  under  2/Lieut.  A.  Gibbs  will 
be  held  in  brigade  reserve,  and  will  assemble  in  Trones  Wood 
near  the  point  where  the  railway  enters  the  wood  and  will 
draw  eighty  boxes  Mills  rifle-bombs  at  the  above  point 
during  the  night  14/ 15th. 


328  APPENDIX   B 

5.  A  dump  of  S.A.A.,  bombs,  R.E.  material  has  been 
established  on  the  edge  of  Bernafay  Wood.  Forward  dumps 
are  at  S.24.b.9.8  and  T.19.C.2.4. 

The  battalion  will  draw  125  tins  of  water  at  the  Cross 
Roads  north-west  corner  of  Bernafay  Wood  during  night 
September  14/15th,  and  when  the  battalion  moves  forward 
will  dump  them  at  Guillemont  Station. 

6.  A  contact  aeroplane  will  be  up  from  zero  to  dark  on 
the  15th  inst.,  and  from  6.30  a.m.  to  9  a.m.  on  the  16th. 

If  the  battalion  is  in  the  leading  line  of  the  attack  at 
12  noon  or  5  p.m.  the  15th,  or  6.30  a.m.  16th,  they  wiU 
light  flares  and  make  every  endeavour  to  indicate  their 

Red  flares  wiU  be  used  by  infantry  ;  blue  by  cavalry. 

7.  Pack  Animals. — Two  S.A.A.  limbers  will  be  parked  at 
the  south  end  of  Trones  Wood  under  command  of  Lieut. 

8.  Prisoners  wiU  be  sent  to  Crater  Post  A.8.a.6.3. 

J.  A.  Dyson  Perrests, 
Lieutenant,  Adjutant  \st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 

Copies  issued  to 

O.C.  Prince  of  Wales's 


Copy  No.  1 

„     No,  2  Company 

,,        „    2 

„     No.  3 

„        „     3 

„     No.  4 

»     4 

Quartermaster    . 

„        »     5 

Transport  Officer 

»     6 

Retained   . 

„     7 

1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards 

September  16th,  1916. 

1.  The  situation  is  reported  as  follows  :  Our  troops  holding 
approximately  as  shown  in  map  forwarded  already.  Enemy 
holding  portions  of  Blue  Line  with  scattered  parties  west 
of  it.  Any  of  our  troops  who  were  in  Blue  Line  have  been 

2.  The  Guards  Division  will  attack  to-morrow  morning. 

1st  Objective  :    T.9.d.87  to  N.33.C.20. 
2nd  Objective  :  Eastern  edge  of  Les  Boeufs — T.4.b.5.3 
— along  road  to  Cross  Roads  N.34.a.29. 

APPENDIX    B  329 

3.  The  61st  Infantry  Brigade  will  attack  on  the  right  and 
the  3rd  Guards  Brigade  on  the  left  ;  boundary  line  T.8.b.5.0 
— T.3.d.27— N.34.a.82.  The  XV  Corps  will  attack  on  the 
left  of  the  3rd  Guards  Brigade  ;  boundary  line  T.8.a.26 — 
N.33.b.20— N.34.a.29. 

4.  Creeping  barrage  will  commence  250  yards  south-west 
of  the  Blue  Line  at  zero  and  will  creep  on  at  zero  +  10  at 
rate  of  50  yards  per  minute  to  200  yards  beyond  the  Blue 
Line.  Infantry  will  advance  to  the  attack  of  the  second 
objective  at  zero  +  35  minutes,  at  which  hour  creeping 
barrage  will  become  intense  and  will  advance  at  the  same 
pace  until  it  has  reached  200  yards  beyond  the  second 
objective.  Standing  barrages  will  lift  as  creeping  barrages 
reach  them. 

5.  Zero  hour  will  be  9. 25  a.m. 

6.  The  battalion  wiU  attack  the  second  objective  simul- 
taneously with  the  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards,  and  wiU 
advance  from  the  place  of  assembly  in  the  following  order  : 
No.  4  Company  on  the  right  on  a  width  of  two  platoons, 
two  platoons  in  support.  Prince  of  Wales's  on  the  left  in 
the  same  formation.  No.  2  will  support  the  two  leading 
companies  in  line.  The  leading  platoons  of  No.  4  and  Prince 
of  Wales's  will  reach  100  from  the  barrage  at  9.35  a.m. 
On  reaching  the  first  objective  companies  wiU  reorganise, 
and  No.  2  Company  will  advance  on  the  second  objective 
at  10  a.m.  following  the  creeping  barrage.  No.  4  on  the 
right  and  Prince  of  Wales's  on  the  left  will  follow  No.  2 
Company  on  width  of  two  platoons  at  50  paces  interval, 
being  followed  by  their  other  two  platoons  at  again  50  yards 

8.  No.  3  Company  Welsh  Guards,  4  guns  Brigade  Machine 
Gun  Company,  4  giins  Brigade  T.M.  Battery  wiU  be  held 
in  reserve  south-west  of  Ginchy  in  their  present  position. 

J.  A.  Dyson  Perkins, 
Lieutenant,  Adjutant  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 

[Note. — The  actual  attack  was  launched  on  the  order  of 
Lord  Henry  Seymour,  Commanding  Officer  of  4th  Battalion 
Grenadier  Guards,  which  would  account  for  the  change  of 
formation.  The  delay  has  already  been  explained.  The 
situation  was  somewhat  confusing  for  Company  Com- 

330  APPENDIX    B 


1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards 


Ref.  Map  57.c.5.w  1/20,000. 

1.  The  Fourth  Army  will  renew  the  attack  on  September 
25th  in  combination  with  attack  by  the  French  in  the  south 
and  the  Reserve  Army  in  the  north.  The  Guards  Division 
will  capture  Les  Boeufs.  The  1st  Guards  Brigade  will  attack 
on  the  right  and  the  3rd  Guards  Brigade  on  the  left.  The 
5th  Division  will  attack  Morval  on  the  right  and  the  21st 
Division  (62nd  Brigade)  will  attack  Gueudecourt  on  the  left 
of  the  Guards  Division. 

2.  Objectives,  assembly  trenches,  and  dividing  lines  be- 
tween brigades  and  divisions  are  marked  on  secret  map. 

1st    objective      .  .  .     Green 

2nd  objective      .  .  .     Brown 

3rd  objective      .  .  .     Blue 

The  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  and  4th  Battalion  Grena- 
dier Guards  will  capture  the  first  and  second  objectives,  and 
will  advance  in  two  waves  on  a  front  of  two  companies  each. 
2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  wiU  attack  on  the  right  and  4th 
Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  on  the  left.  The  1st  Battalion 
Grenadier  Guards  will  pass  through  the  two  leading  bat- 
talions and  capture  the  third  objective.  The  1st  Battalion 
Welsh  Guards,  less  Nos.  3  and  4  Companies,  wiU  be  held  in 
brigade  reserve  at  T.8.a. 

3.  The  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  and  the  4th  Battalion 
Grenadier  Guards  wiU  be  formed  up  in  X  and  Y  Trench. 
The  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  wiU  be  formed  up  in  the 
Z  Line.  The  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  and  4th  BattaHon 
Grenadier  Guards  will  advance  at  zero  hour.  They  wiU 
reorganise  in  the  first  objective  and  advance  on  the  second 
objective  at  zero  plus  one  hour. 

The  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  will  advance  so  as 
to  reach  the  first  objective  at  zero  +  one  hour,  and  will 
further  advance  to  the  attack  of  the  third  objective  so  as 
to  reach  their  barrage  200  yards  beyond  the  second  objective 
at  zero  -\-  two  hours. 

Nos.  3  and  4  Companies  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards  on 
the  right  and  left  respectively  wiU  be  formed  up  in  Gap 
Trench  after  relief  on  night  September  24/25th,  and  will 
move  into  the  X  Line  as  soon  as  the  1st  Battalion  Grenadier 

APPENDIX   B  331 

Guards  vacate  it.  In  moving  forward  these  two  companieg 
will  seize  any  opportunities  offered  by  a  slackening  of  the 
enemy's  barrage.  The  left  flank  of  No.  3  Company  wiU 

The  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  and  No.  2  Company  1st 
Battalion  Welsh  Guards  on  the  right  and  left  respectively 
will  be  formed  up  in  T.8.a  in  the  Switch  Trench  to  the  east 
of  Battalion  H.Q.,  in  the  sector  now  occupied  by  two  com- 
panies 2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards,  whom  they  will  relieve 
on  night  September  24/25th. 

The  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  will  be  held  in  readiness 
to  act  as  a  carrying  party  for  the  R.E.  on  receipt  of  order. 
No.  2  Company  will  remain  in  Brigade  Reserve. 

4.  The  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  will  consoUdate 
the  third  objective  with  strong  points  on  the  flanks.  The 
4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  and  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots 
Guards  will  consolidate  the  second  objective. 

Nos.  3  and  4  Companies  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards  will 
consolidate  the  first  objective.  The  O.C.  No.  4  Company 
will  make  a  strong  point  on  the  left  flank  of  the  objective 
and  another  at  H.32.d.8.3,  and  wiU  maintain  touch  with  the 
62nd  Infantry  Brigade.  O.C.  No.  3  Company  will  maintain 
touch  with  the  1st  Guards  Brigade.  O.'s.C.  Companies  must 
be  prepared  to  form  defensive  flanks. 

5.  A  deliberate  bombardment  of  the  enemy's  position  will 
be  carried  out  on  September  24th  and  25th.  There  wiU  be 
no  extensive  flre  before  the  hour  of  zero.  A  barrage  creeping 
at  the  rate  of  50  yards  per  minute  will  precede  each  advance. 

6.  O.'s.C.  Companies  will  report  when  they  have  reached 
their  assembly  positions  after  rehef  on  night  September 

7.  Two  machine  guns  will  advance  with  the  4th  Battalion 
Grenadier  Guards  as  far  as  the  flrst  objective,  and  will  be 
placed  to  guard  the  left  flank  ;  these  two  guns  will  remain 
in  the  first  objective  and  assist  the  1st  Battalion  Welsh 
Guards  to  consoUdate  there. 

8.  The  Sapping  Platoon  will  remain  in  Brigade  Reserve 
with  No.  2  Company. 

9.  A  battle  dump  is  estabhshed  100  yards  to  the  right 
rear  of  Battalion  H.Q.  at  about  T.8.a.6.4. 

10.  Prisoners  will  be  sent  to  the  Craters  A. 8. a.  Ofiicers 
wiU  be  searched  and  effects  forwarded  with  the  escort. 
Other  ranks  will  not  be  searched. 

332  APPENDIX    B 

11.  Battalion  H.Q.  will  remain  at  T.8.a.6.4.  Efforts  will 
be  made  to  push  forward  a  telephone-line  to  the  first  objec- 
tive. A  contact  aeroplane  will  be  in  the  air  from  zero  hour 
until  6.30  p.m. 

12.  Each  man  will  carry  one  day's  ration,  one  iron  ration, 
1  haversack  ration,  4  bombs,  200  rounds  S.A.A.,  1  pick  or 
shovel,  2  sandbags. 

13.  Dressing  stations  are  at  S.30.b.5.6  and  T.13.C.8.8. 
Battalion  stretcher-bearers  will  carry  cases  towards  T.  13. c.  8., 
until  touch  is  obtained  with  ambulance  bearer  squads. 
Walking  wounded  wiU  be  directed  to  A.14.C.6.1  near  Carnoy. 

14.  O.'s.C.  Companies  will  detail  N.C.O.'s  and  men  as  under 
No.  4  Company,  nine  men  for  Trench  Mortar  Battery,  two 
men  for  brigade  orderlies  ;  No.  3  Company,  nine  men  for 
Trench  Mortar  Battery,  two  men  for  brigade  orderlies  ; 
No.  2  Company,  four  men  for  Trench  Mortar  Battery,  two 
men  for  brigade  orderlies  ;  Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  three 
men  for  Trench  Mortar  Battery,  two  men  for  brigade  order- 

O.'s.C.  No.  3  and  4  Companies  will  detail  two  and  one 
N.C.O.'s  respectively  for  Trench  Mortar  Battery. 

These  men  will  report  to  the  adjutant  at  Battalion  H.Q. 
Men  for  brigade  orderlies  7  p.m.  4th  inst.,  men  for  Trench 
Mortar  Battery  11  p.m.  24th  inst. 

15.  Rations,  water,  and  a  rum  issue  will  be  issued  at 
Battalion  H.Q.  to-morrow  night  at  a  time  to  be  notified. 
There  wiU  be  no  issue  of  rations  on  September  25th. 

J.  A.  Dyson  Perrests, 
Lieutenant,  Adjutant  Ist  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 

September  2iih,  1916,  12  noon. 

{Note. — In  para.  1  the  5th  Division  is  mentioned  on  the 
right.  This  is  wrong.  The  6th  Division  was  between  the 
Guards  and  5th  Division.) 

APPENDIX   B  333 


1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards 

(7)  OPERATION    ORDERS    NO.    23/17 

Copy  No.  7. 

Ref.  T.M.  Sheet  Bixschoote,  St.  Julien,  1/10,000. 

(a)  On  "  Z  "  day  XIV  Corps  is  to  attack  the  enemy  in 
conjunction  with  corps  on  our  right  and  left.  The  date  of 
"  Z  "  day  will  be  notified  later. 

(b)  Zero  will  be  at  dawn  ;  the  exact  hour  will  be  notified 

(c)  Guards  Division  is  attacking  with  the  2nd  Guards 
Brigade  on  the  right  and  3rd  Guards  Brigade  on  the  left. 
Boundaries  and  objectives  are  shown  on  the  attached  map. 

(d)  The  38th  Division  is  attacking  on  right  of  Guards 
Division  and  1st  French  Division  (201st  Regiment)  on  the 

2.  Plan. — There  wiU  be  no  movement  of  troops  between 

zero  —  30  and  zero. 

3.  Plan. — 3rd  Guards  Brigade  will  attack  as  follows  : 
(a)  1st  BattaHon  Grenadier  Guards  and    1st  Battalion 

Welsh  Guards  on  right  and  left  respectively  and  on  a  frontage 
of  two  companies  each,  will  capture  first  objective  (Blue 

(6)  The  same  two  battaUons  will  capture  second  objective 
(Black  Line). 

(c)  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  (less  two  platoons)  and 
2nd  Battahon  Scots  Guards  (less  two  platoons)  on  right  and 
left  respectively  will  capture  third  objective  (Green  Line). 

(d)  1st  Guards  Brigade  is  to  capture  fourth  objective 
(Dotted  Green  Line)  and  also,  if  opportunity  offers,  to  gain 
ground  up  to,  and  including,  Red  Line. 

4.  Battalion  Plan. 

(a)  The  battahon  will  attack  in  three  waves. 

(b)  The  first  wave  (two  platoons  No.  2  Company  on  the 
right,  two  platoons  No.  3  Company  on  the  left)  wiU  be 
responsible  for  capturing  the  first  objective  (Blue  Line), 
supported  by  the  second  wave. 

(c)  The  second  wave  (two  platoons  No.  2  Company  on  the 
right  and  two  platoons  No.  3  Company  on  the  left)  will 
support  the  first  wave  in  the  attack  on  the  Blue  Line,  and 

334  APPENDIX   B 

the  third  wave  in  the  attack  on  the  second  objective  (Black 

(d)  The  third  wave  (Prince  of  Wales's  Company)  will  be 
responsible  for  capturing  the  Black  Line,  supported  by  the 
second  wave. 

(e)  The  Mopping-up  Company  (No.  4  Company)  will  be 
responsible  for  mopping  up  all  ground  from  Baboon  Trench 
(exclusive)  to  Black  Line  (exclusive).  The  action  of  this 
company  is  shown  in  para.  7. 

(/)  The  second  wave  wiU  come  under  the  orders  of  the 
O.C.  2nd  BattaUon  Scots  Guards  after  the  latter  pass  the 
Black  Line  (see  para.  5,  sub-para.  c.  1). 

6.  Detail  of  the  assault. 

(a)  At  zero  +  34  minutes — 

1.  A  barrage  will  come  down  200  yards  east  of  Brown 

Line  (Baboon  Keserve). 

2.  The  first  wave  will  be  kneeling  down  on  the  east  side 

of  Brown  Line  (Baboon  Reserve). 

3.  The   front   platoons'   Mopping-up   Company   will   be 

formed  up  close  behind  the  first  wave. 

4.  Second  wave  will  be  formed  up  60  yards  behind  front 

platoons'  Mopping-up  Company. 

5.  Third  wave  will  be  formed  up  behind  the  second  wave. 

6.  Rear  platoons'  Mopping-up  Company  will  be  formed 

up  behind  the  third  wave. 
(6)  At  zero  -\-  38  minutes. 

1.  First  wave,  followed  by  front  platoons'  Mopping-up 

Company  and  second  wave,  will  advance  to  the 
capture  of  the  Blue  Line.  There  will  be  an  interval 
of  15  yards  between  first  wave  and  front  platoons' 
Mopping-up  Company,  and  60  yards  between  front 
platoons'  Mopping-up  Company  and  second  wave. 

2.  Third  wave  will  follow  second  wave. 

3.  When  the  first  wave  enters  the  Blue  Line  the  second 

wave  will  close  up  to  within  15  yards  of  the  Blue 
Line  to  enable  it  to  assist  the  first  wave  at  the  earliest 
possible  moment  if  called  upon  to  do  so. 

The  third  wave  will  close  up  to  within  70  yards  of 
the  second  wave,  i.e.  85  yards  from  the  Blue  Line 
(first  objective). 

4.  Action  of  moppers-up  is  shown  in  para.  7. 
(c)  At  zero  +  2  hours  2  minutes. 

1.  The  third  wave  (having  passed  through  the  second 

APPENDIX    B  335 

wave)  will  meet  the  barrage  150  yards  in  front  of 
the  Blue  Line  and  advance  to  the  capture  of  the 
Black  Line. 

The  rear  platoons'  Mopping-up  Company  will 
follow  the  third  wave  at  15  yards'  interval ;  second 
wave  will  follow  rear  platoons'  Mopping-up  Com- 
pany at  60  yards'  interval. 

2.  The  second  wave  will,  when  the  third  wave  enters  the 

Black  Line,  lie  down  15  yards  on  the  near  side  of 
the  Black  Line. 

After  the  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  have  passed 
through  the  Black  Line  it  will  come  under  the  orders 
of  the  O.C.  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards,  and  will, 
as  soon  as  possible,  be  ordered  by  that  officer  to 
proceed  to  about  Major's  Farm,  U.25.b.50.85,  and 
there  consolidate  as  battalion  reserve  of  2nd  Bat- 
taUon  Scots  Guards. 

The  route  of  the  advance  of  the  H.Q.  2nd  BattaUon 
Scots  Guards  will  be  notified  later,  and  O.C. 
second  wave  will  arrange  to  make  his  H.Q.  on  or 
near  that  route.  The  company,  therefore,  coming 
under  the  orders  of  the  O.C.  2nd  Battalion  Scots 
Guards  will  be  composed  of  two  platoons  No.  2 
Company  and  two  platoons  No.  3  Company  (see 
para.  44,  sub-para.  3).  If  this  composite  company 
is  reduced  to  less  than  100  men  it  must  be  made  up 
by  men  withdrawn  from  third  wave  in  Black  Line. 

3.  Action  of  moppers-up  is  shown  in  para.  7. 
{d)  At  zero  +  3  hours  24  minutes. 

1.  Fourth  wave,  foUowed  by  Mopping-up  Company  and 
fifth  and  sixth  waves  (all  found  by  the  2nd  Battalion 
Scots  Guards)  will  advance  to  the  capture  of  the 
Green  Line. 

6.  Movements  of  Supporting  Battalion  {2nd  Battalion  Scots 

At  zero  +  60  minutes.  In  front  line  area  (4th  Battalion 
Grenadier  Guards  in  vicinity  of  Baboon  Support).  At 
zero  -f  1  hour  45  minutes,  in  vicinity  of  Wood  15.  At 
zero  +  2  hours  30  minutes,  leading  waves  to  have  crossed 
line  of  Scots  House — Sauvage  House.  At  zero  -f-  3  hours, 
to  be  in  opposition  behind  barrage  protecting  Black  Line. 

7.  flopping  Up. 

The  Mopping-up  Company  (No.  4  Company)  is  divided 

336  APPENDIX   B 

into  two  parts,  each  consisting  of  two  platoons.  Two 
platoons  commence  the  attack  in  rear  of  first  wave  ;  these 
are  referred  to  in  these  orders  as  front  platoons'  Mopping- 
up  Company.  Two  platoons  are  in  rear  of  the  third  wave  ; 
these  platoons  are  referred  to  as  rear  platoons'  Mopping-up 

(a)  When  the  attack  advances,  the  rear  platoons'  Mopping- 
up  Com^pany  will  mop  up  all  ground  between  Brown  Line 
(exclusive),  to  Wood  15  (exclusive).  Special  attention  will 
be  paid  to  Baboon  Avenue  and  Bois  Farm. 

When  this  ground  is  cleared  of  the  enemy,  the  rear  pla- 
toons will  reform  and  lie  down  15  yards  in  rear  of  the 
third  wave. 

(b)  When  the  first  wave  enters  Wood  15  the  front  pla- 
toons' Mopping-up  Company  proceed  to  mop  up  Wood  15. 
Particular  attention  will  be  paid  to  Sauvage  House  and 
Wood  15  Trench. 

As  soon  as  the  wood  is  clear  of  the  enemy  the  front 
platoons'  Mopping-up  Company  will  reform  and  assist  in 
the  consolidation  of  the  Blue  Line. 

(c)  The  rear  platoons'  Mopping-up  Company,  which  have 
reformed  and  come  into  position  behind  the  third  wave, 
will  advance  behind  the  third  in  the  assault  of  the  Black 
Line  and  will  mop  up  all  ground  between  the  Blue  Line 
and  the  Black  Line  (exclusive). 

Special  attention  will  be  paid  to  Wood  15  Avenue. 

(d)  The  O.C.  Mopping-up  Company  will  make  his  H.Q. 
with  the  rear  platoons  until  arrival  at  Wood  15,  when  he 
will  make  his  H.Q.  with  the  front  platoons. 

(e)  After  the  rear  platoons'  Mopping-up  Company  have 
completed  the  mopping-up  of  the  ground  between  the  Blue 
Line  and  the  Black  Line  they  will  rejoin  the  front  platoons 
and  assist  in  the  consolidation  of  the  Blue  Line. 

This  company  will  then  form  battalion  reserve. 

8.  Consolidation. 

(a)  The  Blue  Line  will  be  consolidated  by  the  first  wave 
in  depth,  front,  support,  and,  if  possible,  reserve,  lines  being 
dug.  A  wire  entanglement  will  be  constructed  in  front  of 
each  line  consolidated,  gaps  being  left  to  allow  passage  of 

The  Mopping-up  Company  will  become  available  to  assist 
in  this  consolidation  ;  vide  para.  7,  sub-paras.  (6)  and  (c). 

(&)  The  Black  Line  will  not  be  consoHdated,  but  the  third 

APPENDIX    B  337 

wave  will  dig  "  islands  "  to  give  themselves  cover.     It  will 
not  be  wired. 

(c)  The  French  will  consolidate  the  Black  Line,  but  not 
the  Blue  Line. 

9.  Strong  Points. 

(a)  The  O.C.  No.  3  company  will  detail  a  party  to  con- 
struct and  garrison  a  strong  point  of  the  cruciform  pattern 
at  U.25.C.2.8. 

(6)  The  O.C.  troops  of  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  in  the 
Black  Line  will  detail — 

(1)  A  party  to  construct  and  garrison  a  strong  point  at 
about  U.25.a.5.3  on  left  flank  of  the  Black  Line. 

(2)  A  party  to  construct  and  garrison  a  strong  point  at 

(c)  These  strong  points  will  be  wired  all  round. 

(d)  The  strong  points  will  each  be  garrisoned  by  one 
platoon  with  a  Lewis  gun,  to  be  detailed  by  the  O.C.  the 
company  detailed  to  garrison  them. 

(e)  When  work  is  started  on  strong  points  the  fact  will 
be  reported  to  Battalion  H.Q.  A  further  report  will  be 
sent  in  when  they  are  completed. 

10.  Machine  Guns. 

(a)  Two  machine  guns,  under  command  of  2/Lieut.  Wilson, 
Scots  Guards,  will  be  attached  to  the  battalion  for  the 
attack.  They  will  follow  the  third  wave  on  the  right  and 
left  of  the  line  respectively  to  the  Black  Line. 

(6)  Company  Commanders  can  call  direct  on  the  services 
of  these  guns  if  necessary. 

(c)  2/Lieut.  Wilson  will  advance  with  the  left  gun. 

(d)  When  the  strong  points  at  U. 25. a. 5. 3  and  U.25.a.3.0 
are  consolidated,  2/Lieut.  Wilson  will  detail  one  gun  to  take 
up  a  position  in  each. 

11.  Trench  Mortars  {Stokes). 

(a)  At  zero  all  guns  of  the  battery  will  take  part  in  the 
bombardment  under  orders  of  the  brigade. 

(6)  At  zero  +  10  minutes  two  guns  will  come  under 
orders  of  the  O.C.  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards.  These  guns 
will  move  up  in  rear  of  the  second  wave  to  Baboon  Support. 
They  will  there  wait  till  the  moppers-up  have  passed  through, 
and  will  go  with  them  to  the  vicinity  of  Sauvage  House, 
moving  by  trench  junction  B.6.a.6.2,  thence  up  Baboon 
Avenue.  Any  Company  Commander  requiring  their  assist- 
ance will  find  them  in  the  above-mentioned  trenches,  till  the 

338  APPENDIX   B 

Blue  Line  is  captured,  when  they  will  be  in  Sauvage  House. 
Lieut.  G.  G.  Walker  will  be  in  command. 

12.  Liaison. 

(a)  A  party  as  per  margin  [2/Lieut.  H.  F.  Lascelles, 
2  orderlies,  1  N.C.O.,  8  other  ranks],  commanded  by 
2/Lieut.  H.  F.  LasceUes,  will  keep  touch  with  the  201st 
French  Regiment  on  the  left. 

(6)  Contact  wiU  be  established  on  "  Y  "  night  on  the 
Brown  Line. 

Throughout  the  attack  the  Liaison  Party  will  advance  in 
line  with  the  leading  waves  as  far  as  eastern  corner  of 
Wood  16  (U.25.a.4.3). 

From  this  point  touch  will  be  kept  by  the  Liaison  Party, 
2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards. 

(c)  Liaison  posts,  each  consisting  of  two  men,  will  be 
dropped  at  the  following  points  :  south-east  corner  of  W^ood 
14  (B.6.a.9.7.) — Pompadour  Farm  ;  eastern  corner  of  Wood 
16  (U.25.a.4.3). 

Posts  will  be  marked  with  a  green  flag  with  letters  L.P. 
in  white. 

Each  post  must  know  the  way  to  nearest  headquarters, 
brigade,  battalion,  company. 

(d)  One  interpreter  and  two  orderlies  will  be  attached  to 
No.  3  Company. 

(e)  One  N.C.O.  and  four  men  for  Liaison  Posts  will  be 
detailed  by  O.C.  No.  3  Company,  four  men  by  O.C.  No.  2 

13.  Action  in  case  Flanks  held  up. 

In  the  event  of  a  unit  on  either  flank  of  the  brigade,  or 
within  the  brigade,  being  held  up,  adjoining  units  will  on 
no  account  check  their  advance.  They  will  drop  small 
parties  to  form  a  defensive  flank  while  continuing  to  form 
forward  to  their  objectives. 

It  is  of  vital  importance  that  the  barrage  be  followed 
closely  by  the  infantry. 

14.  Counter- Attack. 

(a)  In  the  event  of  an  enemy  counter-attack  the  Green 
Line  wiU  be  held  at  all  costs. 

(b)  Should  the  enemy  penetrate  our  lines,  the  Reserve 
Companies  of  4th  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  and  2nd  Bat- 
talion Scots  Guards  wiU  be  used  for  immediate  counter- 

APPENDIX    B  339 

(c)  Troops  holding  the  Blue  and  Black  Lines  will  not  be 
used  in  this  immediate  counter-attack. 

{d)  Should  the  enemy  succeed  in  capturing  the  Green  Line 
in  spite  of  the  immediate  counter-attack  of  the  Green  Line 
troops,  a  fresh  bombardment  of  that  line  will  be  ordered 
and  an  organised  Counter-attack  under  a  creeping  barrage 
will  be  made  by  brigade  arrangements. 

15,  Artillery. 

(a)  At  zero  +  34  minutes  a  barrage  will  come  down  200 
yards  east  of  Brown  Line. 

(&)  At  zero  -f  38  this  barrage  will  creep  forward  to  Blue 
Line  at  rate  of  100  yards  in  four  minutes.  It  will  lift  off 
southern  portion  of  Blue  Line  (right  boundary)  to  south 
corner  of  Wood  15  (C.l.a.15.75)  at  -f  46  minutes,  and  off 
the  northern  portion  (east  corner  of  Wood  15,  U.25.C.35.15 
to  left  boundary)  at  -|-  1  hour  2  minutes,  forming  in  each 
case  a  protective  barrage  200  yards  beyond  the  objective. 

(c)  At  -f  1  hour  31  minutes  the  barrage  will  begin  to 
lift  back  from  southern  portion  of  Blue  Line  till  it  reaches 
Green  Mill  Trench,  where  it  will  dwell  till  -f  2  hours  2 

{d)  At  +  2  hours  and  2  minutes  the  barrage  will  begin 
to  lift  back  along  the  whole  divisional  front  to  Black  Line. 

It  will  lift  off  Black  Line  at  -f  2  hours  10  minutes,  and 
will  form  a  protective  barrage  200  yards  beyond. 

(e)  At  +  3  hours  24  minutes  the  barrage  will  begin  to 
lift  back  to  Green  Line. 

It  will  lift  off  Green  Line  at  +  4  hours  5  minutes,  and 
will  form  a  protective  barrage  200  yards  beyond. 

16.  Artillery  Notes. 

(a)  A  standing  barrage  will  be  placed  on  each  objective. 
This  will  in  all  cases  lift  back  when  or  before  the  creeping 
barrage  reaches  it. 

(6)  The  creeping  barrage,  when  moving,  will  lift  100  yards 
at  a  time,  pausing  four  minutes  beween  each  lift. 

(c)  Where  trenches  exist  the  creeping  barrage  has  been 
so  arranged  that  its  four  minutes'  pause  is  in  the  trench. 

{d)  The  creeping  barrage,  when  lifting  off  Blue,  Black  and 
Green  Lines,  will  lift  back  100  yards,  pause  four  minutes,  and 
then  lift  back  another  100  yards  and  form  a  protective 

(e)  The  creeping  barrage  which  during  the  halts  on  the 
Blue,  Black  and  Green  Lines  will  be  temporarily  stationary, 

340  APPENDIX   B 

will  become  intense  for  four  minutes  before  it  recommences 
to  lift  back. 

This  will  enable  leading  infantry  to  get  close  up  to  the 

(/)  A  machine-gun  barrage  will  be  put  down  beyond  the 
stationary  artillery  barrages. 

17.  Smoke  Barrages. 

Smoke  barrages  will  be  made  by  barrage  guns  as  follows  : 
In  front  of   Black  Line  from  +  2  hours   14  minutes  to 

+  3  hours. 
In  front  of  Green  Line  from  +  4  hours  21  minutes  to 

+  4  hours  45  minutes. 

18.  S.0.8. 

On  zero  day  and  subsequently,  S.O.S.  signal  will  be  a  rifle 
grenade  bursting  into  two  red  and  two  green  lights. 

No  other  light  signal  will  be  employed  except  flares  to 
show  the  position  of  infantry  to  contact  patrols. 

19.  Contact  Patrol. 

(a)  A  contact  patrol  will  fly  over  the  corps  front  at — 
Zero  +  1  hour. 

+  2  hours  25  minutes. 
+  4  hours  20  minutes. 
+  5  hours  40  minutes. 
1.30  p.m. 
4.00  p.m. 
8.00  p.m. 
(&)  Leading  troops  will  show  their  positions  to  contact 
aeroplanes  when  demanded  : — 

(1)  By  Klaxon  Horn. 

(2)  By  series  of  white  lights. 

(c)  S.S.  135  Appendix  "A  "  will  be  adhered  to  in  all 
communication  with  contact  aeroplane. 

{d)  Each  contact  aeroplane  will  be  marked  with  two  black 
rectangular  flags  (2  feet  by  1  foot  3  inches)  attached  to  and 
projecting  from  the  lower  plane  on  each  side  of  the  fuselage. 

(e)  Flares  (white)  will  be  lit  only  by  leading  lines  of  in- 
fantry and  only  when  called  for. 

They  should  be  lit  in  bunches  of  three  at  intervals  of 
50  yards. 

Great  care  will  be  taken  that  none  are  lit  unnecessarily, 
as  the  supply  is  limited. 

APPENDIX   B  341 

20.  Movement  of  Battalion  H.Q. 

(a)  At  zero,  Battalion  H.Q.  will  be  established  in  the  front 
line.  When  situation  permits,  the  Battalion  Forward  Party, 
under  2/Lieut.  G.  C.  Devas,  will  proceed  to  Sauvage  House 
and  establish  a  Forward  Battalion  Command  Post  either 
there  or  in  the  vicinity. 

The  Battalion  Forward  Party  will  drop  a  chain  of  runners 
on  the  following  route  :  Original  Battalion  H.Q. — Trench 
Junction  B.6.a.7.2,  thence  follow  line  of  Baboon  Avenue — 
Sauvage  House. 

Battalion  H.Q.  wiU  move  to  the  forward  Battahon  H.Q. 
at  probably  about  zero  +  2  hours. 

The  route  followed  will  be  that  of  the  runner  chain. 

21.  Communications. 

(Brigade  Arrangements) 

(a)  A  Brigade  Forward  Station  will  be  opened  at  Scots 
House,  C.l.a.|.6.  by  zero  +  2  hours  30  minutes. 

A  final  Brigade  Forward  Station  will  be  opened  at 
U.  25. 6. 7. 2  by  zero  +  4  hours  20  minutes. 

(6)  The  Brigade  Relay  Posts  are  at — 


4  Post  .  . 

.  .  B.6.C.8.6. 


5  Post  .  . 

.  .  B.6.b.5i.3. 


6  Post  .  . 

.  .  C.l.a.^.6,  Scots  House 


7  Post  .  . 

.  .  U.25.C.9.5. 


8  Post  .  . 

.  .  U. 

Messages  can  be  handed  in  at  any  of  these  relay  posts. 

(Battalion  Arrangements) 

(a)  As  soon  as  the  Battahon  Forward  Party  reaches 
Sauvage  House  a  receiving-station  for  messages  will  be 

All  messages  will  be'  sent  to  this  station  for  transmission. 

When  the  situation  permits,  a  telephone  station  wiU  be 
established  in  the  Blue  Line  and  another  in  the  Black  Line. 

Visual  stations  will  also  be  established  if  the  ground  is 

The  positions  of  the  stations  will  be  notified  on  the  ground. 

(b)  Visual. — The  Divisional  Central  Visual  Station  will  be 
at  B.ll.d.4.1. 

The  Brigade  Visual  Station  will  be  at  B.  11. a. 9.2. 
The  Battahon  Visual  Station  will  be  in  the  front  line  at 
Battahon  H.Q. 

342  APPENDIX   B 

23.  Medical  Arrangements  after  Zero. 

(a)  One  stretcher-bearer  will  proceed  with  each  platoon. 
These  will  not  carry  stretchers. 

Sixteen  stretcher-bearers  will  accompany  the  regimental 
medical  officer. 

The  regimental  medical  officer  will  accompany  Battalion 

(b)  The  regimental  stretcher-bearers  will  not  carry 
wounded  back  to  the  dressing-station,  but  will  only  tie  up 
cases  and  put  them  into  the  nearest  shelter,  marking  the 
spot  by  sticking  a  rifle  into  the  ground  butt  uppermost  or 
tying  a  piece  of  bandage  to  some  conspicuous  mark. 

(c)  Positions  of  Field  Ambulance  Units  are  : 

Advanced  dressing-station — Boesinghe  Village. 
Walking  wounded  collecting  post — Bluet  Farm. 
Main  dressing-station — Canada  Farm. 

24.  Prisoners  of  War. 

(a)  Divisional  collecting-station  will  be  at  Boussat  Farm, 

(6)  Prisoners  will  be  sent  straight  to  this  station  by  units 
which  capture  them. 

(c)  (i)  Escorts  will  not  consist  of  more  than  10  per  cent, 
of  the  number  of  prisoners  ;  (ii)  When  possible,  lightly 
wounded  men,  or  returning  carrying- parties,  will  be  used 
for  this  duty. 

{d)  (i)  Officers  will  be  searched  immediately,  all  docu- 
ments being  removed  and  sent  back  with  the  escort ; 
(ii)  N.C.O.'s  and  men  will  not  be  searched  except  for  arms 
and  ammunition  ;  (iii)  where  possible,  officers  will  be  kept 
apart  from  men. 

(e)  Prisoners  of  war  are  not  allowed  to  smoke  or  talk, 
and  no  one  is  allowed  to  converse  with  them  except  Provost 
Staff  and  General  Staff  Intelligence. 

25.  Dumps. 

A  dump  will  be  made  under  brigade  arrangements  at 
Sauvage  House  of  the  following  : 
R.E.  Material. 
Lewis  Gun  drums  filled. 
Rations  and  Water. 
The  first  load  of  R.E.  material  may  be  expected  at  about 
zero  -f-  2  hours. 

Officers  commanding  companies  should  send  empty  Lewis 



gun  drums  to  the  dump  to  be  exchanged,  and  at  the  same 
time  send  notification  of  their  other  requirements. 

26.  Synchronisation  of  Watches. 

(a)  Watches  will  be  synchronised  on  "  Y  "  day  from  a 
watch  brought  round  by  a  brigade  staff  officer,  as  soon  as 
possible  after  11.30  a.m.  and  7.30  p.m.  O.C.  companies 
wiU  send  watches  to  Battalion  H.Q.  at  these  hours  to  receive 
correct  time. 

(b)  In  no  circumstances  will  synchronisation  of  watches 
be  carried  out  by  telephone. 

J.  A.  Dyson  Perrins, 

Lieutenant,  Adjutant. 

Copies  issued  : 

O.C,  Prince  of  Wales's  Company      Copy  No.  1. 

„     No.  2  Company           .         •        ft        . 

,      2. 

„     No.  3         „                 .         .        „        , 

.       3. 

„     No.  4         „                 .         .        „       , 

,      4. 

Quartermaster    .         .         .         .        »,        i 

.      5. 

Transport  Officer        .         .         .... 

,      6. 

Intelligence  Officer     .         .         .... 

.      7. 

3rd  Guards  Brigade,  M.G.C. 

.      8. 

3rd  Guards  Brigade,  T.M.  Batty. 

.       9. 

3rd  Guards  Brigade   .         .         .        ... 

,     10. 

Ist  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  .        „        , 

,     11. 

2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards        .        „        , 

,     12. 

20l3t  French  Regiment       ..... 

,     13. 

Major  R.E.  Reserve  Battalion    .        „        , 

,     14. 

Secret.  Copy  No. 

1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards 
(8)  OPERATION    ORDERS,    NO.    33/17 

October  1th,  1917. 
By  Major  J.  A.  Stirling,  M.C,  commanding  1st  Battalion  Welsh 


Map  Reference,  Bixschoote,  20  S.W.  4  1/10,000. 

1.  The  Guards    Division  (1st  and  2nd  Guards  Brigades) 
will  attack  in  the  direction  of  Egypt  House,  Carre,  Faidherbe. 

3rd  Guards  Brigade,  less  one  battalion,  will  be  in  support 
in  area  Wood  15,  Abri  Wood. 

2.  On  the  night  October  8th/9th,   1st  Battalion  Welsh 


344  APPENDIX    B 

Guards  will  hand  over  camp  to  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards, 
clearing  camp  by  8  p.m. 

3.  The  head  of  battalion  will  pass  White  Hope  Corner  at 
11  p.m.  in  the  following  order  :  Battalion  H.Q.,  Prince  of 
Wales's  Company,  No.  4  Company,  No.  3  Company,  No.  2 
Company.  Companies  will  march  with  100  yards'  interval 
between  platoons  to  assembly  positions  already  shown  to 
Company  Commanders.  Battalion  H.Q.  to  Saules  Farm. 
Route  :  Clarges  Street — or  Crapouillot  Pontoon  and  Bridge 

4.  Order  :  Fighting  order,  with  greatcoats  and  water- 
proof sheets. 

5.  Trench  stores  will  be  carried  as  follows  : 

To  Bn.  Forward  Dump  at 
Per  Man.  Per  Company.  'Wood  13  near  P.  of  W. 


1  Shovel.  16  haversacks  with  rifle    50  Boxes  Mills  Bombs. 

1  Mills  Bomb.  Grenades.  35  Boxes  Rifle  Grenades 
170  Rounds  S.A.A.  250  Verey  Lights.  (20  per  box). 

2  Water  Bottles  filled.  2  front  Company's  5  tins, 

1  Day's  ration  and       4  Tins  S.O.S.  1,100  Ground  Flares. 

Emergency  Ration.     1  Day's  Ration  in  bulk.    200  "  P  "  Bombs. 

6.  Lewis  Guns  and  20  magazines  per  gun  will  be  taken 
by  companies  from  this  camp, 

7.  Packs  and  blankets  will  be  stored  by  companies  in  the 
orderly  room  hut  before  leaving  camp.  Officers'  kits  in  the 
quartermaster's  stores.  When  battalion  leaves  Wood  13  to 
advance,  greatcoats  will  be  stored  under  guard  at  Forward 
Battahon  Dump. 

8.  Two  cookers  and  water-carts  will  go  to  south-west  of 
Wood  13.      There  will  be  a  rum  ration  issued  in  Wood  13. 

9.  Officers'  trench  kits  and  Verey  light  boxes  (para.  5) 
will  be  carried  on  pack-ponies,  two  per  company  and  two  per 
Battahon  H.Q.. 

10.  Regimental  aid-post  will  be  on  Bridge  Street  near 
•*  G  "  in  Sauvage  House. 

Stretcher-bearers  will  be  with  their  companies. 

11.  Runners.  Companies  will  each  detail  two  runners  for 
attachment  to  Battahon  H.Q. 

If  the  battalion  moves  forward,  companies  will  detail  a 
further  two  to  remain  with  Battahon  H.Q. 

APPENDIX    B  345 

12.  Lieut.  E.  Martin  Smith  will  be  acting  transport  officer. 

13.  2/Lieut.  H.  F.  Lascelles,  company-sergeant-majors, 
company-quartermaster-sergeants  and  storemen  will  return 
to  the  transport  lines  if  battalion  goes  forward  from  Wood  13 

J.  C.  Devas, 
Captain,  Adjutant  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 

Copies  issued  to: 

Commanding  Officer. 

O.C.  Prince  of  Wales's  Company. 

„     No.  2  Company. 

M     No.  3 

„     No.  4 
Lieut.  E.  Martin  Smith. 
2/Lieut.  H.  F.  Lascelles. 
Lieut.  Dudley  Ward. 
Two  copies  retained. 

(9)  OPERATION    ORDER    NO.    51 

1.  Guards  Division  will  seize  the  ridge  Gauche  Wood — 
Gonnelied  to  secure  observation  in  the  Twenty-two  Ravine. 

2.  4th  BattaUon  Grenadier  Guards  and  1st  Battalion 
Welsh  Guards  will  occupy  the  line  Gonnelieu  inclusive  to 
R.  32.C.  3. 2.  Details  of  disposition  for  attack  will  be  arranged 
direct  between  companies. 

3.  1st  Guards  Brigade  will  hold  from  R.32.C.3.2  to 
south-east  corner  of  Gauche  Wood.  Dividing  line  between 
brigades  for  forming  up  is  R.31.C.4.7. 

4.  Tanks  will  take  part  in  attack,  moving  slightly  in 
advance  of  infantry. 

5.  70th  and  235th  R.F.A.  Brigades  will  open  an  intense 
barrage  at  zero  on  Twenty-tw^o  Ravine. 

6.  Zero  hour  will  be  6.30  a.m. 

7.  Position  wiU  be  consolidated  when  gained. 

C.  F.  Keith, 
Captain,  Acting  Staff  Captain  Guards  Brigade. 


346  APPENDIX    B 

1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards 

(10)  ORDERS    FOR    RAID 

By  Lieut.-Col.  H.  Dene,  D.S.O. 

Battalion  H.Q., 

March  %th,  1918. 

1.  The  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards  has  been  ordered  to 
carry  out  a  raid  on  the  enemy's  front  line  on  the  night 
March  8th/ 9th. 

The  point  of  entry  will  be  I.20.a.85.75  (junction  of  Corn 
and  Crust). 

Zero  hour  wiU  be  3.30  a.m. 

2.  Objects  of  the  Raid. — To  capture  prisoners  and  material. 

3.  Composition  of  Raiding  Party. — 2/Lieut.  P.  Llewellyn 
will  be  O.C.  Raiding  Party,  which  will  consist  of  three  parties 
composed  as  under  : 

No.   1  Party. — 2/Lieut.  P.  Llewellyn,  Sergt.  Glover 

and  fifteen  other  ranks. 
No.  2  Party. — Cpl.  Facey  and  six  men. 
No.  3  Party. — Sergt.  Meredith  and  six  men. 
The  Raiding  Party  will  be  assembled  in  our  front  line 
from  I.20.a.58.80  to  I.20.a.65.50. 

4.  Plan. — At  zero,  No.  1  Party  will  advance  in  sectional 
blobs  at  10  yards'  interval,  with  No.  2  Party  5  yards  in 
rear  of  the  right  flank  of  No.  1  Party,  and  No.  3  Party 
5  yards  directly  in  rear  of  No.  2  Party. 

On  arrival  at  enemy's  trenches.  No.  1  Party  will  turn  left 
from  point  of  entry  up  Crust,  and  clear  the  trench  for  about 
100  yards,  carrying  out  the  objects  of  the  raid,  kiUing  Huns 
and  capturing  prisoners. 

2/Lieut.  P.  Llewellyn  will  remain  at  the  point  of  entry 
with  small  party  to  enlarge  gaps  in  wire  and  to  take  charge 
of  prisoners. 

No.  2  Party,  moving  on  right  of  No.  1  Party,  will  turn 
right  from  point  of  entry,  clear  the  trenches  for  about  40 
yards  and  establish  a  block. 

No.  3  Party,  following  close  behind  junction  of  Nos.  1 
and  2  Parties,  wiU  bomb  up  Corn  Trench  about  40  yards, 
establish  a  block,  keep  up  rifle  grenade  barrage  on  the  trench 
in  front  of  them  and  remain  there  until  raiding  party 

APPENDIX    B  347 

They  will  not  attempt  to  penetrate  more  than  40  yards. 

The  object  of  these  two  parties  is  to  prevent  a  bombing 
attack  from  the  enemy,  and  to  cover  No.  1  Party  whilst 
carrying  out  the  objects  of  the  raid. 

5.  Artillery. — Artillery  barrages  wiU  be  carried  out  as 
shown  on  attached  sheet. 

The  barrages  wiU  come  down  at  zero  —  2. 

The  4-5  howitzers  on  I.20.b.05.95  will  lift  at  zero  +  2  on 
to  Carrot. 

The  6-inch  Newtons  on  trench  to  be  raided  will  lift  at 
zero  to  trench  between  I.20.b.05.95  and  I.14.C.85.30. 

6.  Stokes  Mortars. — 3rd  Guards  Brigade  Trench  Mortar 
Battery  will  fire  as  follows  : 

(i)  Two  guns. — From  zero  —  2  to   zero  on  trenches 
to   be   raided.      From   zero  to  zero  +  20  on  to  short 
trench  leading  from  Corn  at  1. 14.d. 08. 00  to  I.14.d.06.06. 
(ii)  Two  guns. — From  zero  —  2  to  zero  +  20  on  enemy 
front  line  about  I.14.C.84.26. 
Rate  of  fire  from  zero  —  2  to  zero  will  be  rapid. 
From  zero  onwards,  normal. 

The  1st  Guards  Brigade  T.M.  Battery  have  been  asked 
to  fire  on  salient  in  enemy  front  line  about  I.14.C.8.8. 

7.  Machine  Ouns. — Barrages  will  be  fired  as  follows  : 

(i)  Down  Caravan, 
(ii)  On  Carrot  and  Candy, 
(iii)  On  Hausa  and  Delbar  Woods, 
(iv)  On  Friction  (south  of  river). 

8.  Lewis  Guns. — Nos.  2,  3  and  4  Companies  1st  Battalion 
Welsh  Guards  will  co-operate  by  bringing  as  many  Lewis 
Guns  as  possible  to  open  direct  fire  on  the  enemy  on  the 
flanks  of  the  raid  area. 

This  Lewis-gun  fire  will  open  at  zero  —  2  and  will  be 
kept  up,  firing  intermittent  bursts,  until  five  minutes  after 
Raiding  Party  has  withdrawn. 

9.  Order  of  Withdrawal. — At  zero  -\-  20  minutes  a  signal 
for  withdrawal  will  be  given  by  the  firing  of  white  parachute 
Verey  light  by  the  O.C.  Company. 

On  the  firing  of  this  signal,  if  he  has  not  already  withdrawn, 
the  O.C.  Raid  will  withdraw  his  parties  in  the  following 
order,  and  will  bring  with  him  all  prisoners  and  material 
captured  during  the  raid. 

348  APPENDIX    B 

Order  of  withdrawal : 

(1)  No.   1  Party. 

(2)  No.  2  Party. 

(3)  No.  3  Party. 

O.C.  Kaid  will  remain  at  point  of  entry  with  Sergt.  Glover 
and  small  party  until  all  parties  are  clear. 

O.C.  Raid  will  withdraw  as  above  before  the  signal  is 
given  if  he  is  satisfied  that  his  work  is  complete. 

All  that  is  needed  are  one  or  two  prisoners.  As  soon  as 
these  are  obtained,  O.C.  Raid  will  withdraw. 

N.C.O.'s  in  charge  of  parties  or  sectional  blobs  will  be 
personally  responsible  that  no  wounded  men  are  left. 

10.  Action  after  Withdrawal. — On  reaching  our  front  line, 
all  parties  will  proceed  by  Cabbage  or  Ceylon  to  Malay 
Cave,  where  they  will  reassemble  and  be  checked  by  2/Lieut. 
D.  I.  B.  Davies. 

They  will  be  checked  at  Company  H.Q.  in  Cabbage  by 
Sergt.  Hawkesworth  and  at  Company  H.Q.  in  Ceylon  by 
Sergt.  Williams. 

11.  Communications. — O.C.  Company  will  be  responsible 
for  keeping  communication  between  himself  and  advanced 
Battalion  H.Q.  by  runner. 

O.C.  Raiding  Party  will  be  responsible  for  keeping  com- 
munication between  himself  and  O.C.  Company  in  like 

Advanced  Battalion  H.Q.  will  be  in  Malay  Cave. 

Advanced  Company  H.Q.  will  be  in  dug-out  in  Ceylon  at 
I.20.a.3.6.  O.C.  3rd  Guards  Brigade  Signals  will  arrange 
communication  with  these  H.Q.  and  between  them  and 
Brigade  H.Q. 

12.  Lights. — Arrangements  are  being  made  for  coloured 
lights  to  be  sent  up  all  along  the  front,  and  for  Verey  lights 
to  be  sent  up  250  yards  on  either  flank  of  attack. 

O.'s.C.  No.  2,  3,  and  4  Companies  will  co-operate  in  this. 

13.  Dress. — Fatigue  dress,  puttees.  Box  respirators  at 
the  "  alert "  position.  Welsh  Guards  buttons,  shoulder 
titles,  identity  discs  will  be  removed.  No  letters  or  pay- 
books  will  be  carried. 

Special  identity  discs  will  be  issued.  Faces  will  be  blacked. 
All  N.C.O.'s  will  carry  electric  torches. 

No.  1  Party  wiU  carry  rifle  with  bayonet  fixed,  20  rounds 

APPENDIX    B  349 

of  ammunition  and  two  bombs  in  the  pockets,  and  will  be 
armed  with  clubs  and  daggers. 

Nos.  2  and  3  Parties  as  under  : 

One  bayonet-man  with  rifle,  bayonet,  and  bandolier. 

One  rifle-bomber  with  rifle  and  cup  for  Mills  adapter  and 
bag  containing  10  Mills  adapters. 

Two  bombers  with  clubs  and  two  bags  each  containing 
ten  bombs. 

Two  bomb-carriers  with  rifle  and  bandolier,  each  carrying 
two  bags  containing  ten  bombs. 

Every  man  will  carry  a  pair  of  wire-cutters. 

14.  Gaj)S  in   Wire. 

(a)  Enemy. — Orders  have  already  been  issued  to  those 

(&)  Our  Own. — O.C.  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  will 
ensure  that  at  least  four  good  gaps  are  made  in  our  wire 
after  dark  on  zero  night,  and  that  tapes  are  laid  out  for 
some  distance  in  the  direction  of  the  point  of  entry,  and 
will  arrange  for  ladders  to  be  placed  in  our  trench. 

15.  Medical  Arrangements. — Four  stretcher-bearers  will 
accompany  the  raiding  party  ;  two  will  carry  stretchers  and 
the  other  two  will  carry  trench-boards  to  facilitate  the 
crossing  of  the  enemy's  wire. 

Medical  N.C.O.  and  four  stretcher-bearers  will  remain  with 
O.C.  Company  at  advanced  Company  H.Q. 
Advanced  dressing-station  will  be  in  Malay  Cave. 

16.  Disposal  of  Captures. — All  prisoners  and  material  cap- 
tured will  be  forwarded  immediately  to  Battalion  H.Q. 
Nothing  will  be  taken  from  prisoners  except  their  arms. 

The  divisional  intelligence  officer  will  be  at  Battahon  H.Q. 
to  interview  prisoners. 

O.C.  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  will  detail  an  escort  of 
one  N.C.O.  and  six  men  to  be  in  readiness  at  Malay  Cave. 

17.  Action  of  Raiding  Party  previous  to  Zero.— heave 
Baudimont  Barracks  by  bus  at  11  p.m.  to  H.17.C.3.5,  where 
party  will  de-bus  and  march  slowly  to  Malay  Cave.  Rum 
and  tea  at  Malay  Cave.  Final  synchronisation  of  watches. 
Leave  Malay  Cave  at  —  30  minutes. 

Arrive  at  assembly  area  at  —  15  minutes. 
Greatcoats  will  be  worn,  but  left  in  Malay  Cave  pending 

350  APPENDIX    B 

18.  Action  of  Raiding  Party  after  Raid. — Party  will  re- 
assemble in  Malay  Cave  and  remain  there  until  enemy 
retaliation  has  finished. 

They  will  then  proceed  in  small  parties  to  de-bussing 
point,  from  whence  they  will  be  conveyed  back  to  Arras. 

H.  Dene, 
Lieutenant-Colonel  Commanding  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 

(11)  OPERATION    ORDER    NO.    1 

3rd  Guards  Brigade  will  continue  the  advance  to-day 
directed  on  Ecoust  St.  Mein  ;  1st  BattaHon  Welsh  Guards 
will  attack  on  the  high  ground  north  of  St.  Leger  on  a  one- 
company  front  south  of  St.  Leger  ;  1st  Battalion  Grenadier 
Guards  on  right  and  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  on  left  wiU 
co-operate  at  zero.  No.  3  Company  will  advance  in  extended 
order,  and  will  be  followed  at  300  yards'  interval  by  No.  4 
Company,  who,  on  No.  3  Company  leaving  their  trench,  will 
move  into  it,  and  on  No.  4  Company  moving  off  Prince  of 
Wales's  will  move  to  its  left  and  will  follow  at  300  yards' 
interval.  No.  4  and  Prince  of  Wales's  Companies  will  move 
forward  in  blob  formation,  should  the  enemy's  artillery  fire 
permit  this.  No.  2  Company  will  move  off  at  7  a.m.  and 
endeavour  to  get  within  300  yards  of  Prince  of  Wales's 
Company,  and  St.  Leger  will  not  be  entered  but  will  be 
mopped  up  from  the  south  by  one  company  of  2nd  Battalion 
Scots  Guards. 

Advance  will  be  made  by  successive  bounds. 

First  bound,  Leger  Reserve;  second  bound,  B.6b&d  ; 
third  bound,  track  running  through  Ecoust  Reserve  ;  fourth 
bound,  road  in  C.4.a.c.&d.  All  ground  captured  will 
be  consoUdated  in  great  depth.  Boundary  on  north  Grid 
Line  north  of  T. 26. 27. 28  due  east  onwards.  Ecoust  and 
Longatte  will  not  be  entered  but  will  be  enveloped. 

Machine  guns  will  cover  the  western  exit  of  St.  Leger. 
The  guns  attached  to  battahons  will  move  in  depth  to 
protect  the  flanks. 

56th  Division  will  attack  at  zero  with  a  creeping  barrage 
and  will  deal  with  Croisilles. 

Advance  on  our  left  must  be  made  to  conform  with  the 
56th  Division,  which  with  a  creeping  barrage  will  be  slower. 

APPENDIX    B  351 

Artillery  will  open  with  a  crash  at  zero  and  after  with 
five  concentrations  and  will  move  forward  in  support  of 

Zero  hour,  7  a.m. 

Battalion  H.Q.  will  remain  in  present  position  unless 
companies  are  advised  to  the  contrary. 

Reports  on  the  battle  will  be  sent  to  BattaUon  H.Q.  as 
often  as  possible. 

Aid-post  is  in  railway  cutting  below  Battalion  H.Q. 

G.  C.  Devas, 
Captain,  Adjutant,  Q.O.M.I. 
August  24th,  1918. 
Issued  at  2.45  a.m. 

(12)  OPERATION    ORDER    NO.    2 

August  28th,  1918. 

3rd  Guards  Brigade  will  continue  the  attack  to-day  ;  1st 
Welsh  Guards  on  left  on  one-company  frontage,  2nd  Scots 
Guards  in  centre  on  two-company  frontage,  1st  Grenadier 
Guards  on  right  on  one-company  frontage.  Flank  battaUons 
will  be  responsible  for  protecting  flank  of  brigade. 

Companies  will  be  on  frontage  of  875  yards.  At  zero 
No.  2  Company  will  advance  in  extended  order,  followed 
at  300  yards'  interval  by  Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  No.  4 
and  No.  3  Companies,  which  are  in  reserve,  will  advance  at 
similar  intervals. 

Advance  will  be  made  by  bounds.  Frst  bound.  Banks 
Road  ;  second  bound,  trenches  at  T.30.a,  T.30.C,  B.G.a.c  ; 
third  bound,  Ecoust  T.R.  ;  fourth  bound,  Railway  U.25.a.b, 
U.26.b,  Ecoust  Reserve. 

Touch  on  flanks  wiU  be  gained  at  each  bound  before 
further  advance. 

Villages  will  not  be  entered  except  by  patrols,  but  will 
be  dealt  with  by  tanks.  Special  instructions  given  to  tanks 
to  deal  with  Leger  Wood,  Cross  Roads  in  o.d,  Ecoust 

Two  sections  M.G.  are  allotted  battalion.  Artillery  will 

Zero  hour  wiU  be  4.30  a.m. 

G.  C.  Devas, 
Captain,  Adjutant,  Q.O.M.I. 

352  APPENDIX    B 

N.B. — In  all  probability  the  56th  Division  will  get  on 
better  than  62nd  Division  on  right,  in  which  case  3rd  Guards 
Brigade  will  form  a  protective  flank  between  the  two  on 
ridges  running  north-east. 


(There  is  no  copy  of  Battalion  Orders.  From  this  date 
Orders  were  written  on  any  piece  of  paper,  and  the  continual 
moving  about  was  not  conducive  to  keeping  records.) 

1.  Advance  will  be  continued  to-morrow  by  3rd  G.B. 
with  2nd  G.B.  on  right  and  52nd  Div.  on  left.  1st  W.G. 
wiU  be  on  the  right,  2nd  Scots  Gds.  on  left,  1  G.G.  in  sup- 
port ;  objective  and  boundaries  shown  on  map  already 
issued.  Leading  batts.  will  be  on  a  two-company 
frontage  distributed  in  great  depth.  Leading  batts. 
will  form  up  on  line  of  railway  C.16.a&b,  C.ll.c&d. 
Leading  companies  wiU  cross  line  Macauley  Av. — Bolton 
Alley  at  zero.  Barrage  will  come  down  on  a  line  C.17 
central  C12.d  central  at  zero.  At  zero  -f  7  it  will 
creep  forward  at  100  yds.  every  4  minutes  until  300  yds. 
beyond  the  objective,  where  it  will  rest  for  15  minutes. 
1  section  No.  2.4  G.M.G.  will  be  attached  to  each  leading 
Bn.  The  guns  will  move  with  support  and  reserve  com- 
panies and  on  a  flank.  8th  Inf.  Bde.  are  withdrawing 
all  troops  east  of  line  Macauley  Av. — Bolton  AUey  to  that 
line  by  4.45  a.m.  When  objective  is  reached  front  Hne  will 
be  held  by  posts  only.  Patrols  wiU  be  pushed  out  as 
barrage  permits  to  keep  touch  with  enemy.  Zero  will  be 
at  5.20  a.m.  T.M.B.  will  be  prepared  to  move  up  2  guns 
to  each  leading  bn.  with  100  rounds  per  gun  AAA.  Both 
leading  batts.  H.Q.  will  be  at  C.8.a.24  AAA.    Acknowledge. 

J.  N.  Buchanan, 

(14)  OPERATION    ORDERS    NO.    85/13 

Secret.  Copy  No. 

Map  Reference  57eN.E.     Secret  map  attached. 

1.  Information. 

(1)  The  Third  Army  will  resume  the  attack.  The  date, 
the  divisions  and  their  tasks  have  been  notified  to  all  con- 

APPENDIX    B  353 

(2)  Objectives  of  Guards  Division. 

(a)  The  first  object  is  the  Red  Line,  which  will  be  taken 
by  the  2nd  Guards  Brigade,  who  will  also  be  prepared  to 
protect  the  left  flank  of  the  division  until  rendered  secure 
by  the  division  on  our  left. 

(b)  The  second  objective  is  the  Brown  Dotted  Line  and 
the  Brown  Line,  which  will  be  taken  by  the  1st  Guards 

(c)  The  third  objective  is  the  Blue  Dotted  Line,  which 
will  be  taken  by  the  3rd  Guards  Brigade  in  conjunction  with 
the  1st  Guards  Brigade. 

(d)  The  final  objective  is  the  Blue  Line. 

2.  Intention. — Action  of  the  3rd  Guards  Brigade. 
(o)  On  "  Y  "  day  the  3rd  Guards  Brigade  will  concentrate 
in  area  north-west  of  Boursies. 

(b)  On  "  Z  "  day  at  zero  +  30  minutes  the  brigade  will 
advance  in  fours,  with  100  yards'  interval  between  platoons, 
in  the  following  order  : 

1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  on  the  right. 

2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  on  the  left. 

1st  BattaHon  Welsh  Guards  in  rear  of  1st  BattaUon 

Grenadier  Guards. 
(The  routes  to  be  followed  are  sho\Mi  on  the  attached 


(c)  Before  reaching  the  Bro\\'n  Line  the  1st  Battalion 
Grenadier  Guards  and  2nd  BattaHon  Scots  Guards  will 
deploy  into  approach.  March  formation,  each  with  two 
companies  in  front  line,  one  company  in  support,  and  one 
in  reserve. 

The  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards  will  move  in  artillery 
formation,  with  three  companies  in  rear  of  1st  BattaUon 
Grenadier  Guards  and  one  company  in  rear  of  2nd  BattaUon 
Scots  Guards,  and  will  be  prepared  to  protect  the  right 
flank  of  the  brigade. 

(d)  The  leading  troops  of  the  1st  BattaUon  Grenadier 
Guards  and  the  2nd  BattaUon  Scots  Guards  will  pass  through 
the  1st  Guards  Brigade  on  the  Brown  Line  at  zero  -f  4 
hours  30  minutes. 

The  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  will  advance  along 
the  spur  running  towards  L.16,  and  the  2nd  BattaUon  Scots 
Guards  will  advance  along  the  spur  running  towards  L.9 
in  order  to  gain  the  Blue  Dotted  Line  and  capture  the 
batteries  in  that  area. 

354  APPENDIX    B 

(e)  After  gaining  the  Blue  Dotted  Line  the  advance  will 
be  continued  to  the  Blue  Line  in  conformity  with  the  57th 
Division  on  Containg. 

(/)  From  the  Blue  Line  patrols  will  be  pushed  forward  into 
Noyelles-sur-L'Escaut  in  order  to  hold  the  crossings  over 
the  Escaut  and  the  Canal  de  St.  Quentin,  should  they  be 
found  unoccupied,  so  as  to  assist  the  6th  Infantry  Brigade, 
who  will  pass  through  the  3rd  Guards  Brigade  at  this  period. 

{g)  When  the  2nd  Division  have  passed  through,  the  3rd 
Guards  Brigade  will  be  concentrated  east  of  the  Canal-du- 
Nord,  under  orders  to  be  issued  later. 

3.  Troops  on  Flanks. 

(1)  Right  flank.  The  76th  Brigade  is  the  left  brigade  of 
the  3rd  Division,  the  left  battahon  will  be  the  1st  Gordons 
up  to  the  Ravine  Avenue,  Sherwood  Switch  and  Suffolks 
to  Brown  Line. 

(2)  185th  Brigade  is  the  left  brigade  of  the  62nd  Division. 
2/20  London  Regiment  goes  through  the  Brown  Line  at 
zero  +  4|  hours,  in  touch  with  the  1st  Grenadier  Guards 
up  to  the  western  outskirts  of  Marcoing,  where  the  8th  West 
Yorks  go  through  the  2/ 20th  London  Regiment. 

Left  Flank. — (a)  The  right  brigade  of  the  57th  Division 
is  172nd  Infantry  Brigade  ;  9th  King's  Liverpools  will  take 
trenches  in  L.3.c. 

(b)  1st  Royal  Munsters  take  Containg  and  the  Blue  Line. 

4.  Concentration. — The  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards  will 
remain  in  their  present  position. 

5.  Approach  March. 

{a)  At  zero  —  35  minutes  the  head  of  No.  3  Company 
will  be  on  the  Lagnicourt — Louverval  Road  opposite  Bat- 
talion H.Q..  with  No.  4  Company,  No.  2  Company  and 
Prince  of  Wales's  Company  up  the  valley  running  south 
towards  Prince  of  Wales's  Company's  present  billets. 

At  zero  —  30  minutes  the  head  of  the  column  will  move 
and  take  up  its  position  with  100  yards'  interval  between 
platoons,  and  100  yards  in  rear  of  last  platoon  of  1st  Grena- 
dier Guards. 

O.C.  No.  3  Company  will  send  out  to  reconnoitre  the 
position  where  his  leading  platoon  will  rest. 

(6)  The  battahon  wiU  conform  to  the  advance  of  the 
column  of  the  1st  Grenadier  Guards,  and  be  prepared  to 
move  off  at  zero. 

APPENDIX    B  355 

(c)  Battalion  H.Q.  will  be  in  rear  of  the  column, 

(d)  The  2nd  Coldstream  Guards  is  the  Reserve  Battalion 
of  the  1st  Guards  Brigade,  and  it  is  probable  that  they  will 
remain  in  the  area  just  east  of  the  canal.  Care  must  be 
taken  that  this  regiment  does  not  impede  the  advance. 

(e)  The  head  of  the  column  will  pass  the  under-mentioned 
points  as  under  : 

Bapaume — Cambrai  Road  at  zero. 

Canal  du  Nord  at  zero  +  2  hours. 

Head  of  column  arrives  on  forming-up  ground  at  zero  + 
4  hours  (for  1st  Grenadier  Guards  Sunken  Road  in  L.B.c.3.7 
to  Scull  Support ;  for  2nd  Scots  Guards  Sherwood  Switch 
with  right  on  Sunken  Road  K.  18.d.8.4). 

The  1st  Welsh  Guards  will  take  up  artillery  formation 
when  passing  Flesquieres,  and  will  see  that  distance  is  kept 
during  the  forming  up  of  1st  Grenadier  Guards  and  2nd 
Scots  Guards. 

6.  Formation. 

At  zero  +4^  hours  1st  Grenadier  Guards  and  1st  Scots 
Guards  will  advance  cross  the  Brown  Line  in  the  Approach 
March  Formation. 

The  1st  Welsh  Guards  will  conform  to  the  movement  in 
artillery  formation,  with  No.  3  Company,  No.  2  Company, 
and  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  echeloned  to  the  right  with 
300  yards'  interval  and  300  yards'  depth  from  the  rear 
platoon  of  the  preceding  company. 

No.  2  Company's  leading  platoon  will  cover  the  left 
platoon  of  the  Reserve  Company  of  the  1st  Grenadier 
Guards.  No.  4  Company  will  cover  the  right  rear  platoon 
of  2nd  Scots  Guards,  and  be  in  line  with  the  leading  platoon 
of  No.  2  Company. 

(6)  The  rear  platoon  of  the  Prince  of  Wales's  Company 
will  act  as  a  flank  guard  protecting  the  right  of  the  battalion, 
and  at  the  same  time  act  as  liaison  between  the  troops  on 
our  right. 

7.  Communications. 

(a)  On  the  objectives  being  reached  Battahon  H.Q.  will 
be  estabUshed  about  L.  13.b.3.1.  An  orderly  will  be  at  the 
forked  roads  at  L.  13.c.d.  to  show  the  position  of  Battahon 

(6)  A  Battahon  Relay  Runner  Post  will  be  estabUshed 
at  L. 

356  APPENDIX    B 

Battalion  H.Q.     1st  Grenadier  Guards.     L.  15.d.l.6. 
Battalion  H.Q.     2nd  Scots  Guards.  L.14.b, Central. 

(c)  Aeroplanes. — Leading  troops  will  light  flares  on  being 
called  for  by  Contact  Plane  by  the  Klaxton  Horn  or  firing 
a  Verey  light.  Leading  troops  will  also  signal  by  flashing 
tin  discs. 

(d)  Success  rifle  grenades  will  be  fired  by  leading  battalions 
on  reaching  the  Blue  Dotted  Line  and  crossings  of  Canal  de 
St.  Quentin  at  Noyelles. 

(e)  On  all  objectives  being  gained,  companies  will  en- 
deavour to  get  in  touch  with  Battalion  H.Q.  by  flag  and 

8.  Machine  Guns. 

Half  section  will  be  attached  to  No.  2  Company  and  half 
section  to  No.  4  Company, 

Machine  Gun  Company  H.Q.  and  one  section  with  Bat- 
talion H.Q.  in  reserve. 

9.  Action  of  Artillery. 

(a)  The  artillery  barrage  governing  the  advance  of  Ist 
Guards  Brigade  and  2nd  Guards  Brigade  will  cease  when 
the  Brown  Line  in  L.13  has  been  reached. 

(6)  The  74:th  and  75th  Brigades  R.F.A.  will  be  prepared 
to  support  the  advance  of  the  3rd  Guards  Brigade  to  the 
Blue  Line. 

10.  3rc?  Guards  Brigade'  Trench  Mortar  Battery. 

(a)  4  gun^  and  200  rounds  of  ammunition  will  move  in 
limbers  with  74th  and  75th  Brigades  R.F.A. 

(6)  Two  trench  mortars  will  be  placed  under  the  tactical 
disposal  of  the  O.C.  leading  battaUons  to  assist  the  advance 
in  the  event  of  its  being  held  up. 

11.  Canal  Crossings. 

The  2nd  Guards  Brigade  will  put  up  blue  and  white 
flags  at  zero  +  a  few  minutes  at  the  places  most  suitable 
for  crossing  the  canal. 

12.  Medical  Arrangements. 

The  first-aid  post  will  be  with  Battalion  H.Q. 
The   advanced   dressing-station   before   zero   will  be  at 
Salmon  Post.     After  zero  it  will  be  at  Lock  No.  7. 



13.  Synchronisation  of  Watches. 

On  the  time  being  received  from  brigade  all  officers  will 
synchronise  their  watches  at  Battalion  H.Q. 

14.  Dress. — Battle  order,  with  empty  packs. 

15.  Zero. — Zerd  hour  will  be  notified  later. 

Captain,  Acting  Adjutant  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 


issued  to : 

O.C.  Prince  of  Wales' 

3  Company 

Copy  No. 


„     No.  2  Company 



„     No.  3 



„     No.  4 

.         . 


Quartermaster    . 

,         , 


3rd  Guards  Brigade   . 



Major  C.  H.  Dudley  ^ 

IVard,  M.C. 


Commanding  Officer  . 



Retained  . 

,                 ^ 

I       ".  \ 

r  9. 

1  n 



No.  89/ 18.d.  10/10/18 

1.  Situation. 

The  leading  troops  of  1st  and  2nd  Guards  Brigade  are  on 
the  line  C.30.b.5.0— C.lS.central— C.12.a.3.2.— U.29.central, 
with  patrols  pushed  farther  forward. 

The  New  Zealand  Division  on  right  hold  Aulicourt  Farm. 

The  24th  Division  on  left  hold  Avesnes. 

2.  Plan. 

(a)  Guards  Division  in  conjunction  with  troops  on  both 
flanks  is  to  continue  advance  to-morrow  (11th). 

(6)  3rd  Guards  Brigade  will  carry  out  the  advance  and 
will  pass  the  enemy  rear- guards  so  as  to  gain  ground  as 
quickly  as  possible. 

(c)  1st  Battahon  Grenadier  Guards  will  be  on  right,  2nd 
BattaUon  Scots  Guards  in  centre,  and  1st  Battahon  Welsh 
Guards  on  left. 

{d)  Dividing  hues,  boundary  and  successive  bounds  to 
be  captured  are  shown  on  attached  map. 

(e)  1st  Battahon  Welsh  Guards  will  advance  with  two 
companies  in  front  (Prince  of  Wales's  Company  on  right 

358  APPENDIX    B 

and  No.  4  Company  on  left),  No.  2  Company  in   support 
and  No.  3  Company  in  reserve. 

(/)  Front  companies  Mill  pass  through  the  outpost  line 
mentioned  in  para.  1  at  0500  hours. 

3.  Approach  March. 

(a)  The  positions  of  deployment  of  battaUons,  which  will 
be  reached  at  0400  hours,  will  be  as  follows  : 

1st  Battahon  Grenadier  Guards.  C.24.C.5.8. 

2nd  Battahon  Scots  Guards.  C.  11. d. central. 

t-slst  Battahon  Welsh  Guards.  C.5.d.o.O. 

(6)  1st  Battahon  Welsh  Guards  will  leave  present  billets 

and  march  in  order  as 
Prince  of  Wales's  Company,  per  margin  to  deployment 
No.  4  Company,  area.     The   head   of   Prince 

No.  2  Company.  of    Wales's    Company    will 

No.   3  Company.  pass  cross-roads  H.5.b.l5.95 

Battahon  H.Q.  at  0045.     Route  :  Camieres 

— Boussieres. 
The  battahon  will  march  closed  up  unless  coming  under 
shell- fire,   when    100  yards'  interval  will    be    maintained 
throughout  the  column. 

(c)  "  A  "  Echelon  (transport)  will  accompany  the  battahon. 

4.  Instructions. 

(a)  Villages  will  be  cut  out.  O.C.  Supports  Company 
will  send  a  platoon  to  mop  up  after  leading  companies  have 
passed  round  them. 

(6)  Close  haison  will  be  kept  with  troops  on  either  flank, 

(c)  Lewis  Guns  will  be  conveyed  by  hmber  to  the  church 
in  Boussieres,  where  they  will  be  unloaded  and  carried  on 
the  men. 

(d)  Dress — battle  order.  Greatcoats  will  be  dumped  at 
present  Company  H.Q.  and  left  in  charge  of  cooks. 

5.  Artillery. 

One  battery  P.P. A.  will  act  in  close  co-operation  with 
the  battahon.     Two  brigades  R.F.A.  less  three  batteries  will 
also  support  the  advance. 
Machine  Guns. 

(a)  One  section  4th  G.M.G.  is  attached  to  battalion. 

(&)  Three  companies  4th  G.M.G.  (less  three  sections)  will 
be  available  if  required. 
Trench  Mortars. 

Two  guns  with  50  rounds  per  gun  are  attached  to  the 

APPENDIX    B  359 

6.  Cavalry. 

As  soon  as  the  infantry  advance  has  reached  the  eastern 
outskirts  of  Quieuy  and  St.  Vaast,  cavalry  patroLs  will  be 
pushed  forward. 

7.  Communications. 

Every  effort  will  be  made  to  get  into  touch  with  Battalion 
H.Q.  by  visual.  Frequent  reports  of  progress  made  will 
be  sent  to  Battalion  H.Q.  by  runner. 

Battalion  H.Q.  will  move  along  approved  routes: 
C.5.b.— St.  Vaast. 
B.27.a.— V.22.C. 
Companies  will  report  their  arrival  at  position  of  deploy- 

G.  C.  Devas, 
Captain,  Adjutant  \st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 

October  lOth,  1918. 

Copies  issued  by  runner  2315. 

All  Companies. 

Transport  Officer. 


2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards. 


No.   101/18 

1.  Plan. 

The  division  is  to  carry  out  an  attack  before  dawn  on 
October  20th  in  conjunction  with  troops  on  right  and  left. 
1st  Guards  Brigade  will  attack  on  the  right. 
3rd  Guards  Brigade  will  attack  on  the  left. 
2nd  Guards  Brigade  will  be  in  reserve. 

2.  Method  of  Attack. — 3rd  Guards  Brigade  will  attack  as 
follows : 

(a)  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  will  capture  and 
consolidate  the  Green  Line  (first  objective),  1st  Battalion 
Welsh  Guards  on  the  right  and  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards 
on  the  left  will  pass  through  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards 
on  the  first  objective  and  will  capture  and  consolidate  the 
Red  Line  (final  objective). 

(6)  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  will  attack  with  three 
companies  in  front  line  and  one  company  in  support. 


360  APPENDIX    B 

Ist  Battalion  Welsh  Guards  and  2nd  Battalion  Scots 
Guards  will  attack  with  two  companies  in  the  front  line, 
one  company  in  S.ll,  and  one  company  in  battalion  reserve. 

1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards  will  attack  as  follows  :  No.  2 
Company,  right  front  ;  No.  3  Company,  left  front  ;  Prince 
of  Wales's  Company,  support  ;   No.  4  Company,  reserve. 

3.  Flanks. 

1st  Battalion  Irish  Guards  will  be  the  left  battalion  of 
1st  Guards  Brigade  on  the  right,  3rd  Battahon  W'orcestershire 
Regiment  will  be  the  right  battalion  of  57th  Infantry  Brigade 
on  our  left. 

4.  Artillery. 

(a)  The  attack  will  be  supported  by  a  creeping  barrage 
of  field  artillery  and  a  barrage  in  depth  of  heavy  artillery. 
Field  artillery  barrage  will  open  on  the  line  of  the  road 
from  V.30.O.50  to  V.18.C.3.9.  at  zero.  At  zero  -f  3 
minutes  it  will  lift  to  a  line  200  yards  east  of  the  road, 
where  it  wiU  remain  until  zero  -f-  23  minutes.  It  will 
then  advance  by  lifts  of  100  yards  every  4  minutes  to  a 
line  300  yards  east  of  first  objective.  In  the  sector  of 
1st  Guards  Brigade  it  will  remain  stationary  on  this  line 
until  zero  +  126  minutes.  In  the  sector  of  3rd  Guards 
Brigade  it  will  lift  from  this  line  at  zero  +  70  minutes, 
and  will  advance  by  lifts  of  100  yards  every  four  minutes 
to  the  line  of  Solesmes — Valenciennes  Road,  building  itself 
upon  this  road  from  south  to  north  as  it  reaches  it.  At 
zero  -f  126  minutes  the  barrage  will  advance  on  the  whole 
divisional  front  by  lifts  of  100  yards  every  four  minutes, 
to  a  line  300  yards  east  of  second  objective.  It  will  remain 
upon  this  line  for  four  minutes  and  will  then  cease. 

(6)  Barrage  tables  will  be  issued  later. 

(c)  One  field  artillery  brigade  fire  thermite  on  machine- 
gun  nests  east  of  creeping  barrage  during  the  advance. 

{d)  The  field  artillery  barrage  will  be  50  per  cent,  shrapnel 
and  50  per  cent.  H.E. 

(e)  A  section  of  field-guns  will  be  pushed  forward  in  close 
support  of  the  brigade  for  anti-tank  defence. 

5.  Liaison  Posts  will  be  established  with  3rd  Battahon 
Worcester  Regiment  as  follows  : 

(1)  In  neighbourhood  of  Road  Junction  V.12.C.8.1.  found 
by  1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards. 

(2)  On  road  at  W.7.a.2.1.  found  by  2nd  Battalion  Scots 

APPENDIX    B  361 

(3)  The  neighbourhood  of  Maison  Blanche  W.l.d.5.3. 
found  by  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards. 

6.  Compass  Bearing. 

The  general  compass  bearing  of  the  advance  is  50°  true. 

7.  Consolidation. 

1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards  will  be  prepared  to  send 
forward  two  companies  under  orders  from  Brigade  H.Q. 
for  deliberate  counter-attack  should  the  situation  so  demand 
after  capture  of  second  objective.  1st  Battalion  Welsh 
Guards  and  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards  will  consoUdate 
second  objective  immediately  it  is  captured. 

O.C.  No.  2  Company  and  O.C.  No.  3  Company  will  each 
push  forward  one  platoon  to  form  an  outpost  line  not  less 
than  400  yards  in  front  of  second  objective  and  sufficiently 
far  forward  to  be  able  to  bring  fire  to  bear  on  the  crossing 
over  the  River  des  Harpies. 

O.C.  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  will  send  forward  a 
patrol  to  locate  any  enemy  west  of  River  des  Harpies  and 
to  report  on  possibility  of  infantry  crossing  that  stream. 

Support  Company  (Prince  of  Wales's  Company)  of  1st 
BattaUon  Welsh  Guards  and  2nd  BattaHon  Scots  Guards 
will  be  dug  in,  in  readiness  for  immediate  counter-attack. 

Reserve  Companies  of  1st  BattaHon  Welsh  Guards  (No.  4 
Company)  and  of  2nd  Battalion  Scots  will  be  prepared  to 
form  defensive  flanks  if  necessary. 

8.  Mopping  Up. 

Prince  of  Wales's  Company  will  be  responsible  for  mopping 
up  area  first  objective  (exclusive)  to  second  objective  (ex- 
clusive) within  the  battaUon's  boundary. 

9.  Contact  Patrols. 

(a)  Success  signals  will  be  fired  from  each  objective  as 
soon  as  captured. 

(6)  Contact  patrols  will  fly  over  divisional  front  at — 

Zero  +  5  hours. 

Zero  -\-  6  hours. 

Zero  -f  7  hours. 

Contact  patrols  will  be  sent  out  at  any  other  time  required 

on  demand  to  BattaUon  H.Q. 

10.  Time. 

Zero  hour  and  arrangements  for  synchronisation  will  be 
notified  later. 

362  APPENDIX    B 

11.  Communications. 

(a)  (i)  Battalion  H.Q. — 1st  Battalion  Grenadier  Guards 
will  move  forward  with  Reserve  Company,  and  will  be  estab- 
lished in  the  neighbourhood  of  V.24.b.l.9  ;  (ii)  H.Q.  1st 
Battalion  Welsh  Guards  and  2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards 
will  move  approximately  on  the  line  V.lS.d.  central  to 

(6)  Brigade  H.Q.  will  close  at  present  position  at  1 600  hours 
and  open  at  St.  Hilaire  at  1700  hours  19th  inst. 

Advanced  brigade  report  centre  will  be  established  at 
V.27.b.9.9.  at  zero  less  3  hours. 

Visual  station  will  be  about  V.22.C.9.5. 

(c)  Companies  will  send  frequent  reports  to  Battalion  H.Q. 
as  to  progress. 

12.  Orders. 

Instructions  as  to  assembly,  march,  movement  of  trans- 
port, bridges,  action  of  M.G.'s,  will  be  issued  later. 

G.  C.  Devas, 
Captain,  Adjutant  1st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 

October  19th,  1917,  11.15.  noon. 

Copies  issued: 

Commanding  Officer. 

Second  in  Command. 

All  Companies. 

Transport  Officer. 


2nd  Battalion  Scots  Guards. 

(17)  OPERATION    ORDER    113 

Ref.  51  A  51  1/4,300. 

1.  Task  of  3rd  Guards  Brigade. 

3rd  Guards  Brigade  will  to-morrow  move  to  area  west  of 
Villers  Pol,  and  will  be  prepared,  on  receipt  of  orders  from 
the  division,  either  to  support  attack  of  2nd  and  1  st  Guards 
Brigades  on  November  4th,  or  to  pass  through  2nd  and  1st 
Guards  Brigades  on  early  morning  of  November  5th,  and 
continue  to  advance. 

APPENDIX    B  363 

2.  Move. 

The  battalion  in  order 
No.  4  Company,  ,  as  per  margin  to  be  ready 

No.  3  Company.  to  march  at  0630  hours. 

Prince  of  Wales's  Company.         Reveille  0433  hours. 
No.  2  Company.  Blankets  to  be  dumped 

Headquarters.  at   No.    124,  officers'  and 

valises     to     be     dumped 
at  Battalion  H.Q.   before  the  march. 

3.  Transport. 

A  echelon  will  march  in  rear  of  the  battalion. 
Remainder  of  first  line  transport  will  move  under  brigade 

4.  Distance. 

An  interval  of  100  yards  will  be  maintained  between 
companies,  headquarters  and  A  echelon  transport. 

5.  Communications. 

{a)  Brigade  H.Q.  will  close  Escarmain  at  0830  hours,  and 
open  at  Mornay  Farm  at  0930.  An  advanced  brigade  report 
centre  will  be  established  at  Mornay  Farm  at  0830. 

(6)  On  arrival  at  assembly  area  R.8.b.  Lieut.  Gwynne 
Jones,  mounted,  will  report  to  Brigade  H.Q.  at  Mornay 

6.  Routes. 

2/Lieut.  Foot  ( +  1  orderly)  will  proceed  at  0530  hours 
to  bridge  at  Q.30.C.7.8. 

He  will  return  and  meet  the  battalion  at  Cross-roads 
Q.36. a. central  at  (and  not  before)  0738  hours. 

He  will  report  if  bridge  is  intact. 

7.  Units  on  Flanks. 

In  the  advance  from  the  Red  Line  2/20th  London  Regi- 
ment, 185th  Infantry  Brigade,  62nd  Division  will  be  on 
right  of  Guards  Division. 

On  the  left  13th  Battalion  Middlesex  capture  Blue  Line, 
9th  Battalion  Sussex  go  through  and  capture  Green  Line, 
both  of  the  73rd  Brigade.  On  Green  Line  1 7th  Brigade  pass 
through  73rd  with  8th  Battalion  Queen's  and  3rd  Battalion 
R.B.  in  support,  and  will  continue  advance  through  Red 
Line  in  above  order. 

17th  Brigade  H.Q.  intend  moving  along  road  Jenlain — 
Wargnies-  le-  Grand. 



8.  Bombs  and  Tools. 

O.C.  Companies  will  detail  a  party  to  report  to  the  trans- 
port officer  on  arrival  at  assembly  area  R.8.b.  for  bombs 
and  tools. 

9.  Water-bottles. 

All  water-bottles  will  be  filled, 

10.  Synchronisation. 

All  watches  will  be  synchronised  by  the  adjutant  this 

J.  L.  Crawshay, 
Lieutenant,  Adjutant  \st  Battalion  Welsh  Guards. 

Copies  : 

Prince  of  Wales's  Company 
No.  2  Company 
No.  3 
No.  4 

Lieut.  Gwynne  Jones 
Transport  Officer 
Quartermaster    . 
2/Lieut.  Foot    . 

Retained  . 

No.  1. 


Ref.  51,  1/40,000 

1 .  The  3rd  Guards  Brigade  will  pass  through  the  line  held 
by  the  1st  and  2nd  Guards  Brigades  and  continue  the  attack 
at  0600  hours  on  the  5th. 

1st  Grenadier  Guards  will  attack  on  the  right. 
2nd  Scots  Guards  will  attack  on  the  left. 
1st  Welsh  Guards  in  reserve. 

2.  The  battalion  will  assemble  in  area  M.2.a,  west  of  La 
Flaque  Farm,  at  0530  hours. 

Brigade  H.Q.  at  La  Flaque  Farm. 

3.  The  head  of  the  bat- 
talion in  order  as  per  margin 
will  pass  the  point  L.34.d.95 
at  0430  hours. 

No.  4  Company. 

No.  3  Company. 

Prince  of  Wales's  Company. 

No.  2  Company. 




4.  Lewis-gun  limbers  will  accompany  companies.  S.A.A. 
mules  will  accompany  H.Q.  The  remainder  of  the  trans- 
port will  be  under  brigade  control. 

5.  Bombs. 

O's.C.  companies  will  arrange  to  draw  six  boxes  No.  36 
and  six  boxes  No.  22,  both  complete,  from  Sergt.  Mathias 
at  H.Q.  billets  before  marching  off,  and  are  responsible 
that  these  are  distributed. 

6.  Tools. 

O's.C.  companies  will  arrange  to  draw  forty  shovels  and 
10  picks  per  company  from  billet  where  Prince  of  Wales's 
Company  cooker  is  now  situated,  before  marching. 

Sergt.  Mathias  will  draw  twenty  shovels  and  five  picks 
for  headquarters. 

The  transport  officer  will  supervise  the  distribution  of 

J.  Crawshay, 
Lieutenant,  Adjutant,  B.I.D.O. 

Copies  issued  at  .- 

Prince  of  Wales's  Company 

No.  2  Company 

No.  3 

No.  4 

Transport  Officer 

Quartermaster    . 

Sergt.  Mathias  . 

Retained  . 

No.  1. 






Ref.  51,  1/40,000. 

1.  Plan  of  Attack. 

In  the  course  of  the  operations  to  be  carried  out  by  the 
3rd  Guards  Brigade  to-morrow  the  1st  Battalion  Welsh 
Guards  will  be  called  upon  to  capture  the  village  of  Bu- 
vignies,  H.35.d.  and  H.36.C. 

2.  The  attack  will  be  carried  out  by  Nos.  2  and  4  Com- 
panies with  No.  3  in  support  and  Prince  of  Wales's  in  reserve. 

(a)  O.C.  No.  2  Company  will  form  up  for  attack  on  ground 
now  occupied  by  left  platoon  of  1st  Grenadier  Guards  at 

366  APPENDIX    B 

N.4.a.3,6,  with  his  right  on  the  road  Amfroipret — Bavisieux 
on  a  front  of  two  platoons.  One  platoon  he  will  hold  in 
reserve.     O.C.  No.  2  Company  will  attack  at  0615  hours. 

Task. — To  clear  the  hedges  north  of  railway  (inclusive) 
and  south  of  Grid  Line  running  east  and  west,  and  occupy 
the  road  N.6.a  from  the  railway  to  H.36.C.20.. 

(6)  No.  4  Company,  in  approach  formation,  will  follow 
No.  2  Company  to  road  north  of  railway  N.5.b,  and  will 
then  attack  the  village  of  Buvignies  astride  the  road. 

Task. — To  secure  a  line  which  will  include  both  road 
junctions  in  H.36.C. 

The  1st  Grenadier  Guards  will  co-operate  on  the  right, 
2nd  Scots  Guards  on  the  left.  Companies  will  get  in  touch 
with  these  units  on  roads  in  N,6  and  about  H.35  central. 

(c)  No.  3  Company. — By  0600  hours  No.  3  Company  will 
be  at  the  fork  roads  N.3.b.  sheltered  behind  the  houses  on 
south  of  road. 

{d)  O.C.  Prince  of  Wales's  Company  will  be  ready  to 
move  from  his  billets  from  0615  hours  onwards. 

3.  Artillery. 

At  0600  hours  the  74th  Brigade  Artillery  will  bombard 
the  hedges  in  N.5.a  and  b  and  H.35.d.  for  ten  minutes,  when 
they  will  lift  to  the  north  and  east  of  the  village  for  ten 
minutes.  Two  field-guns  and  one  howitzer  will  move 
forward  in  support  of  the  battalion.  The  75th  Brigade 
R.F.A.  will  deal  with  enemy  position  south  of  the  railway. 

4.  Communications. 

Battalion  H.Q.  will  move  to  the  fork-roads  H.3.b.  A  short 
line  will  be  run  to  the  house  at  the  cross-roads  N.4.a,  where 
No.  4  Company  will  provide  an  instrument  and  the  operator. 

5.  Aid-post. 

Regimental  Aid-post  will  be  at  Battalion  H.Q.,  the  fork- 
roads,  and  N.3.b. 

J.  Crawshay, 
Lieutenant,  Acting  Adjutant  B.I.D.O. 


Prince  of  Wales's  Company 

.     No.  1. 

No.  2  Company 

.       „    2. 

No.  3         „                 .         . 

.       ..    3. 

No.  4         „                 .         . 

,,    4. 

Retained  .... 

»    5. 


„    6. 

APPENDIX    B  367 


To  O's.C.  all  companies. 

The  enemy  still  holds  positions  in  N.5  and  the  Buvignies 
Spur.  185  Inf.  Bde.  on  our  right  hold  from  N.17  central 
to  N.11.C.60— N.ll.d.53— N.ll.b.43  and  are  pushing  a  coy. 
forward  to  N.5. c. 61  to-night.  3  G.B.  hold  approx.  lines, 
N.d.4.40  northwards  round  north-eastern  outskirts  of  Ber- 
meries  H. 3 4. a.  58.  Thence  17th  Inf.  Brigade  hold  line 
about  500  yds.  E.  of  river  Cambronne.  They  are  en- 
deavouring to  secure  high  ground  in  H.28  to-night.  3 
G.B.  will  to-morrow  attack  the  enemy  to  seize  the  follow- 
ing objective  :  N.5.a.95 — railway  crossing  N.6.a.26 — road 
junction  H.36.C.37.  1  G.G.  will  attack  on  right,  1  W.G. 
will  attack  on  left.  Dividing  line  railway  N.6.a.45  to 
N.4  central  inclusive  to  1  W.G.  2  S.G.  wiU  co-operate 
with  this  attack  by  pushing  troops  H.35.a.4.b.  1  G.G. 
will  endeavour  to  carry  out  their  attack  during  night. 
Success  or  otherwise  of  such  operation  will  in  no  way  alter 
the  action  of  1  W.G.,  and  such  portions  of  1  G.G.  attack 
that  are  not  effected  to-night  will  be  undertaken  by  them 
at  zero  hour.  After  capture  of  first  objective  to-morrow 
advance  will  be  pressed  eastward  on  successive  objectives 
as  follows  :  1st  bound,  railway  1.31  a&c  ;  2nd  bound, 
I,31.a.30.98— I.31.d.91  ;  3rd  bound,  road  running  through 
1.32. a&d  ;  4th  bound,  1.32  central  line  of  road  to  I.33.C.91  ; 
5th  bound,  I.34.b.l9— I.35.C.02  ;  6th  bound,  the  road 
J.31a  and  c  east  of  La  Longueville  by  1  W.G.  with  1  G.G. 
conforming  on  right.  Detailed  orders  for  capture  of 
Buvignies  already  issued.  At  0615  hours  P.  of  W.  Coy. 
will  move  to  fork-roads  at  H.3.b.  Headquarters  and 
attached  transport  will  move  under  orders  of  Lieut.  Arthur, 
Coys,  will  carry  Lewis  Guns  and  bombs.  Coy.  limbers 
will  report  at  present  battalion  headquarters  at  0630. 
After  0630  hours  coys,  will  move  on  orders  from  battalion 
headquarters.     Ends. 


Adjutant,  B.I.D.O. 



Within  the  period  covered  by  this  history  the  toast  of 
"  St.  David  "  was  only  given  twice  :  at  dinner  "  On  Guard  " 
on  St.  David's  Day,  1915,  when  the  toast  was  drunk  in 
silence,  and  at  Wormhoudt  in  1916.  On  the  latter  occasion 
there  was  also  no  speech  on  St.  David,  as  no  one  was  very 
sure  of  his  record  beyond  that  he  "  gave  us  the  leek." 
Indeed  he  does  not  seem  to  have  done  very  much  except 
uphold  the  doctrine  of  original  sin  against  an  unbelieving 
Welshman  called  Pelagius,  or  Morgan.  Being  an  eloquent 
man,  he  met  with  great  success  in  opposing  the  Pelagian 
heresy.  He  founded  a  number  of  monasteries,  to  one  of 
which,  at  Minevia,  now  called  St.  David's,  he  transferred 
his  see  on  becoming  Archbishop  of  Caerleon-upon-Usk. 
He  does  not  seem  to  have  been  a  martial  prelate,  and  his 
saintliness  was  founded  on  eloquence,  conversions  and  good 
works.  He  lived,  however,  in  the  time  of  King  Arthur,  and 
possibly  his  eloquence  was  used  to  encourage  the  ardour 
and  fire  the  spirit  ol  the  Welsh  soldiers  of  the  day.  He 
died  about  the  middle  of  the  sixth  century. 



A.  Clauses  relating  to  Western  Front 

I. — Cessation  of  operations  by  land  and  in  the  air  six 
hours  after  the  signature  of  the  Armistice. 

II. — Immediate  evacuation  of  invaded  countries — Bel- 
gium, France,  Alsace-Lorraine,  Luxemburg — so  ordered  as 
to  be  completed  within  fourteen  days  from  the  signature  of 
the  Armistice. 

German  troops  which  have  not  left  the  above-mentioned 
territories  mthin  the  period  fixed  wiU  become  prisoners 
of  war. 

Occupation  by  the  Allies  and  United  States  Forces  jointly 
will  keep  pace  with  evacuation  in  these  areas. 

AU  movements  of  evacuation  and  occupation  will  be  regu- 
lated in  accordance  with  a  Note  (Annexure  1). 

III. — Repatriation,  beginning  at  once,  to  be  completed 
within  fourteen  days,  of  all  inhabitants  of  the  countries 
above  enumerated  (including  hostages,  persons  under  trial, 
or  convicted), 

IV. — Surrender  in  good  condition  by  the  German  Armies 
of  the  following  equipment : 

5,000  guns  (2,500  heavy,  2,500  field). 
3,000  machine  guns. 
3,000  Minenwerjer. 

2,000    aeroplanes  (fighters,  bombers — firstly  D.7's — 
and  night-bombing  machines). 
The  above  to  be  delivered  in  situ  to  the  Allied  and  United 
States  troops  in  accordance  with  the  detailed  conditions 
laid  down  in  the  Note  (Annexure  1). 

V. — Evacuation  by  the  German  Armies  of  the  countries 
on  the  left  bank  of  the  Rhine.     These  countries  on  the 


370  APPENDIX    D 

left  bank  of  the  Rhine  shall  be  administered  by  the  local 
authorities  under  the  control  of  the  Allied  and  United 
States  Armies  of  occupation. 

The  occupation  of  these  territories  will  be  carried  out  by 
Allied  and  United  States  garrisons  holding  the  principal 
crossings  of  the  Rhine  (Mayence,  Coblenz,  Cologne),  together 
with  bridgeheads  at  these  points  of  a  30-kilometre  [about 
19  miles]  radius  on  the  right  bank,  and  by  garrisons  simi- 
larly holding  the  strategic  points  of  the  regions. 

A  neutral  zone  shall  be  set  up  on  the  right  bank  of  the 
Rhine  between  the  river  and  a  line  di'awn  10  kilometres 
[6J  miles]  distant,  starting  from  the  Dutch  frontier  to  the 
Swiss  frontier.  In  the  case  of  inhabitants,  no  person  shall 
be  prosecuted  for  having  taken  part  in  any  military  measures 
previous  to  the  signing  of  the  Armistice, 

No  measure  of  a  general  or  official  character  shall  be 
taken  which  would  have,  as  a  consequence,  the  depreciation 
of  industrial  establishments  or  a  reduction  of  their  personnel. 

Evacuation  by  the  enemy  of  the  Rhine-lands  shall  be  so 
ordered  as  to  be  completed  within  a  further  period  of  sixteen 
days,  in  aU  31  days  after  the  signature  of  the  Armistice, 

All  movements  of  evacuation  and  occupation  will  be 
regulated  according  to  the  Note  (Annexure  1). 

VI. — In  all  territory  evacuated  by  the  enemy  there  shall 
be  no  evacuation  of  inhabitants  ;  no  damage  or  harm  shall 
be  done  to  the  persons  or  property  of  the  inhabitants. 

No  destruction  of  any  kind  to  be  committed. 

Military  establishments  of  all  kinds  shall  be  delivered 
intact,  as  well  as  military  stores  of  food,  munitions,  equip- 
ment not  removed  during  the  periods  fixed  for  evacuation. 

Stores  of  all  kinds  for  the  civil  population,  cattle,  etc., 
shall  be  left  in  situ. 

Industrial  establishments  shall  not  be  impaired  in  any 
way,  and  their  personnel  shall  not  be  moved, 

VII. — Roads  and  means  of  communication  of  every  kind, 
railroads,  waterways,  main  roads,  bridges,  telegraphs,  tele- 
phones shall  be  in  no  manner  impaired. 

All  civil  and  military  personnel  at  present  employed  on 
them  shaU  remain. 

5,000  locomotives,  150,000  waggons,  and  5,000  motor- 
lorries  in  good  working  order,  with  all  necessary  spare  parts 
and  fittings,  shall  be  delivered  to  the  Associated  Powers 

APPENDIX    D  371 

within  the  period  fixed  for  the  evacuation  of  Belgium  and 

The  railways  of  Alsace-Lorraine  shall  be  handed  over 
within  the  same  period,  together  with  all  pre-war  personnel 
and  material. 

Further,  material  necessary  for  the  working  of  railways 
in  the  country  on  the  left  bank  of  the  Rhine  shall  be  left 
in  situ. 

All  stores  of  coal  and  material  for  upkeep  of  permanent 
way,  signals,  and  repair  shops  shall  be  left  in  situ  and  kept 
in  an  efficient  state  by  Germany,  as  far  as  the  means  of 
communication  are  concerned,  diu-ing  the  whole  period  of 
the  Armistice. 

All  barges  taken  from  the  Allies  shall  be  restored  to  them. 
The  Note  appended  as  Annexure  2  regulates  the  detail  of 
these  measures, 

VIII. — The  German  Command  shall  be  responsible  for 
revealing  all  mines  or  delay-action  fuses  disposed  on  territory 
evacuated  by  the  German  troops  and  shall  assist  in  their 
discovery  and  destruction. 

The  German  Command  shall  also  reveal  all  destructive 
measures  that  may  have  been  taken  (such  as  poisoning  or 
pollution  of  springs,  wells,  etc),  under  penalty  of  reprisals. 

IX. — ^The  right  of  requisition  shall  be  exercised  by  the 
Allied  and  United  States  Armies  in  all  occupied  territory, 
save  for  settlement  of  accounts  with  authorised  persons. 

The  upkeep  of  the  troops  of  occupation  in  the  Rhineland 
(excluding  Alsace-Lorraine)  shall  be  charged  to  the  German 

X. — ^The  immediate  repatriation,  without  reciprocity,  ac- 
cording to  detailed  conditions  which  shall  be  fixed,  of  all 
Allied  and  United  States  prisoners  of  war  ;  the  Allied  Powers 
and  the  United  States  of  America  shall  be  able  to  dispose  of 
these  prisoners  as  they  wish.  However,  the  return  of 
German  prisoners  of  war  interned  in  Holland  and  Switzerland 
shall  continue  as  heretofore.  The  return  of  German  pris- 
oners of  war  shall  be  settled  at  peace  preliminaries. 

XI. — Sick  and  wounded  who  cannot  be  removed  from 
evacuated  territory  will  be  cared  for  by  German  personnel, 
who  will  be  left  on  the  spot,  with  the  medical  material 

372  APPENDIX    D 

B.  Clauses  relating  to  the  Eastern  Frontiers 
OF  Germany 

XII. — All  German  troops  at  present  in  any  territory  which 
before  the  war  belonged  to  Russia,  Rumania,  or  Turkey 
shall  withdraw  within  the  frontiers  of  Germany  as  they 
existed  on  August  1st,  1914,  and  all  German  troops  at 
present  in  territories  which  before  the  war  formed  part  of 
Russia  must  likewise  return  to  within  the  frontiers  of  Ger- 
many as  above  defined  as  soon  as  the  Allies  shall  think  the 
moment  suitable,  having  regard  to  the  internal  situation  of 
these  territories. 

XIII. — Evacuation  by  German  troops  to  begin  at  once  ; 
and  all  German  instructors,  prisoners,  and  civilian  as  well 
as  military  agents  now  on  the  territory  of  Russia  (as  defined 
on  August  1st,  1914)  to  be  recalled. 

XIV. — German  troops  to  cease  at  once  all  requisitions  and 
seizures,  and  any  other  undertaking  with  a  view  to  obtaining 
supplies  intended  for  Germany  in  Rumania  and  Russia,  as 
defined  on  August  1st,  1914. 

XV. — Abandonment  of  the  Treaties  of  Bukarest  and 
Brest- Litovsk  and  of  the  Supplementary  Treaties. 

XVI. — The  Allies  shall  have  free  access  to  the  territories 
evacuated  by  the  Germans  on  their  eastern  frontier,  either 
through  Danzig  or  by  the  Vistula,  in  order  to  convey  supplies 
to  the  populations  of  these  territories  or  for  the  purpose  of 
maintaining  order. 

C.  Clause  relating  to  East  Africa 

XVII. — Unconditional  evacuation  of  all  German  forces 
operating  in  East  Africa  within  one  month. 

D.  General  Clauses 

XVIII. — Repatriation,  without  reciprocity,  within  a 
maximum  period  of  one  month,  in  accordance  with  detailed 
conditions  hereafter  to  be  fixed,  of  all  civilians  interned  or 
deported  who  may  be  citizens  of  other  Allied  or  Associated 
States  than  those  mentioned  in  Clause  III. 

APPENDIX    D  373 

XIX. — With  the  reservation  that  any  future  claims  and 
demands  of  the  AlUes  and  United  States  of  America  remain 
unaffected,  the  following  financial  conditions  are  required  : 

Reparation  for  damage  done. 

While  the  Armistice  lasts  no  public  securities  shall  be 
removed  by  the  enemy  which  can  serve  as  a  pledge  to  the 
Allies  for  the  recovery  or  reparation  for  war  losses. 

Immediate  restitution  of  the  cash  deposit  in  the  National 
Bank  of  Belgium  and,  in  general,  immediate  return  of  all 
documents,  specie,  stock,  shares,  paper  money,  together  with 
plant  for  the  issue  thereof,  touching  public  or  private  interest 
in  the  invaded  countries. 

Restitution  of  the  Russian  and  Rumanian  gold  yielded 
to  Germany  or  taken  by  that  Power. 

This  gold  to  be  delivered  in  trust  to  the  Allies  until  the 
signature  of  peace. 

E.  Naval  Conditions 

XX.  Immediate  cessation  of  all  hostilities  at  sea,  and 
definite  information  to  be  given  as  to  the  location  and 
movements  of  all  German  ships. 

Notification  to  be  given  to  neutrals  that  freedom  of 
navigation  in  all  territorial  waters  is  given  to  the  Naval 
and  Mercantile  Marines  of  the  Allied  and  Associated  Powers, 
all  questions  of  neutrality  being  waived. 

XXI. — All  Naval  and  Mercantile  Marine  prisoners  of  war 
of  the  Allied  and  Associated  Powers  in  German  hands  to  be 
returned,  without  reciprocity. 

XXII. — Handing  over  to  the  Allies  and  the  United  States 
of  all  submarines  (including  all  submarine  cruisers  and  mine- 
layers) which  are  present  at  the  moment  with  full  comple- 
ment in  the  ports  specified  by  the  Allies  and  the  United 
States.  Those  that  cannot  put  to  sea  to  be  deprived  of 
crews  and  supplies,  and  shall  remain  under  the  supervision 
of  the  Allies  and  the  United  States.  Submarines  ready  to 
put  to  sea  shall  be  prepared  to  leave  German  ports  imme- 
diately on  receipt  of  wireless  order  to  sail  to  the  port  of 
surrender,  the  remainder  to  follow  as  early  as  possible.  The 
conditions  of  this  Article  shall  be  carried  [out]  within  four- 
teen days  after  the  signing  of  the  Armistice. 

374  APPENDIX    T> 

XXIII. — The  following  German  surface  warships,  which 
shall  be  designated  by  the  Allies  and  the  United  States  of 
America,  shall  forthwith  be  disarmed  and  thereafter  interned 
in  neutral  ports,  or,  failing  them.  Allied  ports,  to  be  desig- 
nated by  the  Allies  and  the  United  States  of  America,  and 
placed  under  the  surveillance  of  the  Allies  and  the  United 
States  of  America,  only  caretakers  being  left  on  board, 
namely  : 

6  Battle  Cruisers. 
10  Battle- ships. 
8  Light  Cruisers,  including  two  mine-layers. 
50  Destroyers  of  the  most  modern  types. 

All  other  surface  warships  (including  river  craft)  are  to  be 
concentrated  in  German  naval  bases  to  be  designated  by 
the  Allies  and  the  United  States  of  America,  and  are  to  be 
paid  off  and  completely  disarmed  and  placed  under  the 
supervision  of  the  Allies  and  the  United  States  of  America. 
All  vessels  of  the  Auxiliary  fleet  (trawlers,  motor- vessels,  etc.) 
are  to  be  disarmed.  All  vessels  specified  for  internment 
shall  be  ready  to  leave  German  ports  seven  days  after  the 
signing  of  the  Armistice.  Directions  of  the  voyage  will  be 
given  by  wireless. 

Note. — A  declaration  has  been  signed  by  the  Allied  Dele- 
gates and  handed  to  the  German  Delegates  to  the  effect 
that,  in  the  event  of  ships  not  being  handed  over  owing  to 
the  mutinous  state  of  the  Fleet,  the  AlUes  reserve  the  right 
to  occupy  Heligoland  as  an  advanced  base  to  enable  them 
to  enforce  the  terms  of  the  Armistice.  The  German  Dele- 
gates have  on  their  part  signed  a  Declaration  that  they  will 
recommend  the  Chancellor  to  accept  this. 

XXIV. — The  Allies  and  the  United  States  of  America 
shall  have  the  right  to  sweep  up  all  minefields  and  obstruc- 
tions laid  by  Germany  outside  German  territorial  waters, 
and  the  positions  of  these  are  to  be  indicated. 

XXV.— Freedom  of  access  to  and  from  the  Baltic  to  be 
given  to  the  Naval  and  Mercantile  Marines  of  the  Allied  and 
Associated  Powers.  To  secure  this,  the  Allies  and  the 
United  States  of  America  shall  be  empowered  to  occupy  all 
German  forts,  fortifications,  batteries,  and  defence  works 
of  all  kinds  in  all  the  entrances  from  the  Kattegat  into  the 
Baltic,  and  to  sweep  up  all  mines  and  obstructions  within 
and  without  German  territorial  waters  without  any  ques- 

APPENDIX    D  375 

tions  of  neutrality  being  raised,  and  the  positions  of  all 
such  mines  and  obstructions  are  to  be  indicated. 

XXVI. — The  existing  blockade  conditions  set  up  by  the 
Allied  and  Associated  Powers  are  to  remain  unchanged,  and 
all  German  merchant  ships  found  at  sea  are  to  remain  liable 
to  capture.  The  Allies  and  United  States  contemplate  the 
provisioning  of  Germany  during  the  Armistice  as  shall  be 
found  necessary. 

XXVII. — All  naval  aircraft  are  to  be  concentrated  and 
immobilised  in  German  bases  to  be  specified  by  the  Allies 
and  the  United  States  of  America, 

XXVIII. — In  evacuating  the  Belgian  coasts  and  forts 
Germany  shall  abandon  all  merchant  ships,  tugs,  lighters, 
cranes,  and  all  other  harbour  materials,  aU  materials  for 
inland  navigation,  all  aircraft  and  air  materials  and  stores, 
all  arms  and  armaments,  and  all  stores  and  apparatus  of 
all  kinds. 

XXIX. — All  Black  Sea  ports  are  to  be  evacuated  by 
Germany  ;  all  Russian  warships  of  all  descriptions  seized 
by  Germany  in  the  Black  Sea  are  to  be  handed  over  to  the 
Allies  and  the  United  States  of  America  ;  all  neutral  mer- 
chant ships  seized  are  to  be  released  ;  all  warlike  and  other 
materials  of  all  kinds  seized  in  those  ports  are  to  be  returned, 
and  German  materials  as  specified  in  Clause  XXVIII  are  to 
be  abandoned. 

XXX. — All  merchant  ships  in  German  hands  belonging 
to  the  AUied  and  Associated  Powers  are  to  be  restored  in 
ports  to  be  specified  by  the  Allies  aud  the  United  States 
of  America  without  reciprocity. 

XXXI. — No  destruction  of  ships  or  of  materials  to  be 
permitted  before  evacuation,  surrender  or  restoration. 

XXXII.— The  German  Government  shall  formally  notify 
the  neutral  Governments  of  the  world,  and  particularly  the 
Governments  of  Norway,  Sweden,  Denmark  and  Holland, 
that  all  restrictions  placed  on  the  trading  of  their  vessels 
with  the  Alhed  and  Associated  countries,  whether  by  the 
German  Government  or  by  private  German  interests,  and 
whether  in  return  for  specific  concessions,  such  as  the  export 
of  shipbuilding  materials  or  not,  are  immediately  cancelled. 


376  APPENDIX    D 

XXXIII. — No  transfers  of  German  merchant  shipping  of 
any  description  to  any  neutral  flag  are  to  take  place  after 
signature  of  the  Armistice. 

F.  Duration  of  ARivnsTiCE 

XXXIV. — The  duration  of  the  Armistice  is  to  be  thirty- 
six  days,  with  option  to  extend.  During  this  period,  on 
failure  of  execution  of  any  of  the  above  clauses,  the  Armistice 
may  be  denounced  by  one  of  the  contracting  parties  on 
forty- eight  hours'  previous  notice. 

G«  Time  LiiNHt  for  Reply 

XXXV. — This  Armistice  to  be  accepted  or  refused  by 
Germany  within  seventy-two  hours  of  notification. 





Enemy  Unit. 


September  27th 


October  23rd 

Hohenzollem  Redoubt. 

November  16th 



March  20th.  . 


11  L.W.  Bde.     On  March 

Menin  Road  to  Weiltje. 

31st  the  26th  Divn. 

June  18th     . 

Weiltje  to  the  Canal — 

13th  Ers.   Bde.     On  June 

June  26th. 

21st  the  51st  R.  Divn. 

August  10th  . 


September  9-12th. 


5  Bav.  Divn.  Relieved  by 
56th  Divn.  on  10th. 

September  15- 17  th 

Gueudecourt  Lesboeufs. 

185th  or  21st  Divn. 

September  2  l-25th 


51st  R.  Divn. 

November  16-20th 


30th  or  185th  Divn. 

December  7th 

Le  Transloy. 

27th  or  185th  Divn.  On 
Dec.  27th  the  5th  Bav. 
R.  Divn. 


March  4th     . 

Sailly-Saillisel  and  St. 
Pierre  Vaast. 

14  th  Bav.  or  26th  Divn. 

July  15th      . 


49th  R.  Divn. 

July  29th      . 

Attack  of  31  St. 

233rd  Divn.  On  30th  the 
235th  Divn. 

August  4-6th 


79th  R,  Divn. 

August  31st  . 


26th  Divn. 

October  10th 


187th  Divn, 

November  27th 

Bourlon  Wood. 

3rd  Guards  Divn. 

December  1st 


9th  Bav.  R.  Divn. 


January  1st  . 


236th  Divn. 

January  26th 


5th  Bav.  R.  Divn.        On 

March  1st  185th  Divn. 






Enemy  Unit. 

March  22nd  . 

.     Mercatel  to  Boisleux 

Enemy  attacked  with  185th 

St.  Marc. 

Divn.  on  the  right,  then 
236th  and  6th  Bav.  Divn., 
the  latter  probably  oppo- 
site us.  On  April  8th  the 
234th  Divn. 

AprU  25th     . 

.     Ayette. 

234th  Divn.  On  May  Ist 
the  111th  Divn. 

July  6th 

.     Boyelles. 

5th  Bav.  R.  Divn.  On 
Aug.  8th  the  21st  R.  Divn. 

August  23rd  . 

.     St.  Leger. 

234th  Divn.  On  Aug.  24th 
the  23rd  Sax.  Divn. 

September  2nd 

.     Ecoust — Lagnicourt. 

40th  Sax.  Divn. 

September  4th 

.     Boursies. 

1st  Guards  Regt.  On  Sep- 
tember 16th  the  20th 

September  21st 

.     Demicourt. 

6th  Divn. 

September  27th 

.     Hindenburg  Line. 

20th,  6th,  and  113th  Divns. 

October  11th 

.     St.  Vaast. 

208th  Divn. 

October  20th 

.     Vertain. 

9th  R.  Divn. 

November  6th 

.     Buvignies. 

206th,  21st  R.,  and  12th  R. 

Note. — In  November  and  December  1916,  and  in  March  1917,  the 
boundary  between  the  Divisions  was  not  definitely  known.  The  advance 
in  1918  was  on  a  diagonal  line  to  that  of  the  retreating  enemy. 





August  18th 

.     Le  Havre. 


20th       . 

.     Abbeville. 


>>         •         • 

.     St.  Omer. 
.     Arques. 

September  21st 

.     Roquetoire. 



.     Fontes. 



.     Haillicourt. 



.     Vermelles. 



.     Loos. 



.     Vermelles. 




October  3rd  . 

Vermelles  (Chapelle  Notre  Dame 

de  Consolation). 


5th   . 



12th   . 



13th   . 

Vermelles  (Lancashire  Trench). 


19th   . 


>  > 

23rd   . 

HohenzoUem  Redoubt. 


27th   . 


November  9th    . 



14th  . 

Laventie  (Pont  du  Hem). 


16th  . 



19th  . 

„         (Pont  du  Hem). 


21st  . 

(Line  ). 



„         (Pont  du  Hem). 


24th  . 

„         (Line). 


26th  . 

La  Gorgue. 

December  2nd    . 

Laventie  (Pont  du  Hem). 


4th     . 

„         (Line). 


6th     . 

„         (Farms  round  village). 


8th     . 

„         (Line). 

, , 

10th  . 

„         (Farms). 


12th  . 

„         (Line). 


14th  . 

La  Gorgue. 


20th  . 

Laventie  (in  village). 


22nd  . 

„         (Line). 




Date.                                                                          Place. 

December  24th  .         .         .     Laveatie  (Village). 

26th  . 


„         28th  . 


30th  . 



January  1st 

La  Gorgue. 

13th      . 

Laventie  (Village). 

15th      . 


„        17th      . 


19th      . 

„         (Line). 

21st      . 


23rd      . 

„         (Line). 

26th      . 

La  Gorgue). 

February  1st 

Laventie  (Village). 

3rd      . 


5th      . 

„         (Village). 

7th      . 


9th      . 


14th    . 





Lestrem  to  Calais. 

25th    , 


March  5th 

St.  Jan  ler  Biezen. 

„      14th 

Poperinghe  (D  Camp). 

„      16th 

Ypres  (Billets). 

„      20th 

,,       (Potijze  Line). 

„      24th 

„       (Billets). 

„      25th 


April  3rd   . 

Ypres  (St.  Jean  Line). 

„     7th   . 

„       (Billets), 

,,     11th 

,,      (St.  Jean  Line). 

„     15th 

„      (Billets). 

„     19th 

.     Poperinghe. 

„     27th 

.     Ypres  (Potijze  Line). 

May  1st     . 

.     Vlamertinghe. 

„    6th     . 

.     Ypres  (Potijze  Line). 

„     10th  . 

.     Vlamertinghe. 

„    11th  . 

.     Poperinghe. 

„     ]9th  . 

.     Wormhoudt. 

June  1st    . 

.     St.  Jan  ter  Biezen. 

„     8th    . 

.     Wormhoudt. 

„     15th  . 

.     St.  Jan  ter  Biezen. 

„     17th  . 

.     Ypres  (Canal  Bank). 

„     18th  . 

„       (Line  Mortaldje). 

„     22nd. 

„       (Chateau  Trois  Tours). 

„     28th  . 

„       (Line). 

July  3rd     . 

„      (Chateau  Trois  Tours). 

„    6th    . 

.     Poperinghe  (Wood  A  30). 

„    14th  . 

.     Ypres  (Line  extreme  left). 

„     18th  . 

„       (Billets  in  Canal  Bank) 

„    22nd  . 

„       (Line). 

„    26th  . 

.     Poperinghe  (Wood  A  30). 





July  27th  . 

.     Watten. 

„    30th  .. 

.     HaUoy. 

August  1st 

.     Bus  les  Artois. 



.     Arqueves. 


.     Mailly-Maillet. 


.     Beaumont  Hamel  (Line). 

14  th 

.     Colin  Camps. 


.     Beaumont  Hamel  (Line). 


.     Bus  les  Artois. 


.     Vauchelles. 

22nd       . 

.     Gezaincourt. 


.     Vignacourt. 


.     Mericourt  I'Abbe. 

September  7th    . 

.     Ville  sur  Ancre. 


9th    . 

.     Ginchy. 



.     Bemafay  Wood  and  Happy  Valley. 


14th  . 

.     Trones  Wood, 



.     Flers — Gueudecourt. 



.     Camoy. 



.     Trones  Wood. 

25th  . 

.     LesbcEufs. 



.     Trones  Wood. 


29th  . 

.     Camoy  (Mansell  Camp). 


30th  . 

.     Fricourt  (Entrenching  Batt.  Camp), 

October  1st 

.     St.  Maul  vis. 

November  6th    . 

.     Camoy  (Mansell  Camp). 


14th  , 

.     Montauban. 


16th  . 

.     Gueudecourt). 


20th  . 

.     Montauban  (H,  Camp). 

J  J 

21st  . 

.     Meault. 

December  2nd    . 

.     Bromfay  Farm. 


6th     . 

.     Montauban  (Maltzhem  Camp). 


7th     . 

.     Le  Transloy. 


10th  . 

.     Maltzhom  Camp. 


11th  . 

Bromfay  Camp. 


14th  . 

.     Maltzhom  Camp. 


15th  . 

.     Transloy  Line. 


18th  . 

Bromfay  Camp, 


21st   . 

.     Maltzhom  Camp. 


22nd  . 

.     Transloy  Line. 


24th  . 

Bromfay  Camp. 

9  9 

26th  . 

.     Combles  (Haie  Wood). 


28th  . 

.     Transloy  Line. 


30th  . 

.     Bromfay  Camp. 


January  1st 

.     Ville  sur  Ancre. 

10th     . 

.     Maricourt  (Billon  Farm) 

11th     . 

.     Maurepas. 

14th      . 

.     Maricourt  (Billon  Farm). 

24th     . 

.     Maurepas. 

25th     . 

.     Fregicourt. 



January  29th 
February  2nd 
March  4  th 
„      8th 
„      12th 
„      16th 
,        19th 
„      21st 
,,      24th 
, ,      25th 
April  23rd 
May  20th  . 
„    31st   . 
June  16th  . 
,,     18th  . 
July  2nd    . 
„    13th  . 
„     15th  . 
„    19th  . 
„    29th  . 
,,    31st  . 

August  4th 
,,      6th 
„      27th 
„       3lSt 
September  4th 
,,  13th 

October  5th 
„       10th 
November  9th 
.      „         17th 
,,         22nd 

December  1st 


Fregi  court. 





Maricourt  (Billon  Farm). 


St.  Pierre  Vaast. 





La  Neuville. 





„        (De  Wippe  Cabaret), 
Boesinghe  (Line). 
Woesten  (De  Wippe  Cabaret). 
Boesinghe  (Line). 
Boesinghe  (Attack). 
Elverdinghe  (Zommerbloom). 
Steenbeek  (Line). 
Proven  (Petworth  Camp). 
Elverdinghe  (Bluet  Farm). 
Langemaik  (Line). 
Woesten  (De  Wippe  Cabaret). 

Proven  (Petworth  Camp). 

Proven  (Paddington  Camp). 
Pilkem  (Wood  15). 

Elverdinghe  (Larry  Camp). 
Woesten  (Forest  Area). 
Proven  (Paddock  Wood). 
Grand  RuUecourt. 
Berles  au  Bois. 
Achiet  le  Petit. 
Bourlon  Wood. 





December  4  th     . 

.     Etricourt. 

5th     . 

.     Gouy  en  Artois. 

11th  . 

.     Arras. 


January  1st 

.     Gavrelle  (Line). 

18th      . 

.     Arras. 

26th      . 

.     Fampoux  (Line). 

30th      . 

.     Arras. 

February  3rd 

.     Fampoux  (Line). 

14th    . 

.     Arras  (Gordon  Camp) 

18th    . 

.     Fampoux  (Line). 

26th    . 

.     Arras. 

March  1st  . 

.     Fampoux  (Line). 

„      11th 

.     Arras  (Gordon  Camp) 

„      15th 

.     Fampoux  (Line). 

„      19th 

.     BemevUle. 

,,      22nd 

.     Mercatel. 

„      24th 

.     Boisleux  St.  Marc. 

,,      25fh 

.     Boyelles. 

„      26th 

.     Boisleux  St.  Marc. 

„      31st 


April  2nd  . 

.     Boisleux  St.  Marc. 

,,     6th   . 


„     8th   . 

.     Boisleux  St.  Marc. 

„     12th 


„     14th 

.     Barly. 

,,     15th 

.     Fosseux. 

„     24th 

.     Berles  au  Bois. 

„     25th 

.     Ayette. 

June  7th    . 

.     Barly. 

July  6th    . 

.     Boyelles. 

„     10th  . 

.     Blairville. 

„     18th  . 


„    24th  . 

.     Blairville. 

August  4th 


„       11th 

.     Saulty. 

„       15th 


„       21st 


„      23rd 

.     Moyenville. 

„      24th 

.     St.  Leger  (Action). 

„       25th 

.     Boiry  St.  Martin. 

„       27th 

.     Ransart. 

September  2nd   . 

.     Ecoust  (Action), 

3rd    . 

.     Lagnicourt. 

4th    . 

.     Boursies  (Line). 

5th    . 

.     Lagnicourt. 


.     Boursies  (Line). 

17th  . 


18th  . 

.     Noreuil. 

21st  . 

.     Demicourt  (Line). 

23rd  . 

.     Lagnicourt. 


27th  . 

.     Flesquidres  (Action). 





September  28th 

.     Canal  du  Nord. 


7th      . 

.     Flesquieres. 


8th      . 

.     Maznieres. 

9th      . 

.     Seranvillers. 

10th    . 

.     Estourmel, 

11th    . 

.     St.  Vaast  (Action). 

13th    , 

.     St.  Hilaire. 

17th    . 

.     Camieres. 

19th    . 

.     St.  Vaast. 

20th    . 

.     Selle  River  (Action). 

21st    . 

.     St.  Hilaire. 

November  2nd    . 

.     Vertain. 

4th    . 

.     Villers  Pol. 

5th    . 

.     Amfroipret. 

6th    . 

.     Buvignies  (Action). 

9th    . 

.     La  Longueville. 

10th  . 

.     Douzies. 

18th  . 

.     Villers  sire  Nicole. 

19th  . 

.     Binche. 

20th  . 

.     Monceau  sur  Sambre 

24th  . 

.     Chatelet. 

25th  . 

.     Fosse. 

28th  . 

.     Nannine. 

29th  . 

.     Gesves. 

December  5th     . 

.     Vyle  et  Tharout. 

6th     . 


10th  . 

.     Jehonheid. 

11th  . 

.     Abrefontaine. 

]2th  . 

.     Ville  du  Bois. 

13th  . 

.     Miifeld. 

14th  . 

.     HoUerath. 

15th  . 

.     Keldenich. 

16th  . 

.     Sinzenich. 

17th  . 

.     Liblar. 

19th  . 

.     Gleuel. 


20th  . 

.     Cologne. 



This  list  of  dates  was  compiled  and  published  by  The 
Times  as  a  short  "  Diary  of  the  War."  We  give  it  with 
the  permission  of  the  Editor. 


June  28. — Francis  Ferdinand  shot  at  Serajevo. 
July     5. — Kaiser's  War  Council  at  Potsdam. 
23. — Austro-Hungarian  Note  to  Serbia. 
28. — Austria  declared  war  on  Serbia. 
31. — State  of  war  in  Germany. 
Aug.     1. — Germany  declared  war  on  Russia. 

2. — German  ultimatum  to  Belgium. 

4, — Great  Britain  declared  war  on  Germany. 
10. — France  declared  war  on  Austria. 
12. — Great  Britain  declared  war  on  Austria. 
15. — Fall  of  Liege. 

16. — British  Army  landed  in  France. 
20. — Germans  occupied  Brussels. 
23. — Japan  declared  war  on  Germany. 
24. — Fall  of  Namur. 
25. — Sack  of  Louvain. 
26. — Battle  of  Tannenberg. 
28.— British  victory  in  the  Bight. 
29. — New  Zealanders  in  Samoa. 
Se'pt.     2. — Russians  took  Lemberg. 

3. — Paris  Government  at  Bordeaux. 

5. — End  of  retreat  from  Mons. 

6. — First  Marne  Battle  begun. 
15. — First  Aisne  Battle  begun. 
16. — Russians  evacuated  East  Prussia. 
23. — First  British  Air  Raid  in  Germany. 


386  APPENDIX    G 

Oct.     9.— Fall  of  Antwerp. 

13. — Belgian  Government  at  Havre. 
20. — First  Battle  of  Ypres  begun. 
Nov.     1. — Naval  Action  off  Coronel. 

5, — Great  Britain  declared  war  on  Turkey. 
7. — Fall  of  Tsingtau. 
10. — Emden  sunk. 
21. — British  occupied  Basra. 
Dec.     2. — Austrians  in  Belgrade. 

8. — Naval  Battle  off  the  Falklands. 
14. — Serbians  retook  Belgrade. 
16. — Germans  bombarded  West  Hartlepool. 
18. — Hussein  Kamel,  Sultan  of  Egypt, 
24. — First  Air  Raid  on  England. 


Jan.  24. — Naval  Battle  off  Dogger  Bank. 
Feb.     2. — Turks  defeated  on  Suez  Canal. 
18.— U-Boat  "Blockade"  of  England. 
25. — Allied  Fleet  attacked  Dardanelles. 
March  10. — British  captured  Neuve  Chapelle. 
22. — Russians  took  Przemysl. 
April  22. — Second  Battle  of  Ypres  begun. 

25. — Allied  Landing  in  Gallipoli. 
May     S. — Battle  of  the  Dunajec. 

6. — Battle  at  Krithia,  Gallipoli. 
7. — Lusitania  torpedoed. 
8. — Germans  occupied  Libau. 
11. — German  repulse  at  Ypres. 
12. — General  Botha  occupied  Windhuk. 
16. — Russian  retreat  to  the  San. 
23. — Italy  declared  war  on  Austria. 
25. — Coalition  Cabinet  formed. 
June     2. — Italians  crossed  Isonzo. 

3. — Russians  evacuated  Przemysl. 
22. — Austro-Germans  recaptured  Lemberg. 
July     2. — Pommern  sunk  in  Baltic. 

9. — German  South- West  Africa  conquered. 
24. — Nasiriyeh,  on  Euphra.tes,  taken. 
Aug.     4. — Fall  of  Warsaw. 

5. — Fall  of  Ivangorod. 

6. — New  landing  at  Suvla  Bay. 

8. — General  Birdwood's  advance  at  Anzac. 

APPENDIX    G  387 

Aug.     9, — British  success  near  Hooge. 
15. — National  Registration. 
17. — Fall  of  Kovno. 
18. — Russian  victory  in  Riga  Gulf. 
19. — Fall  of  Novo-Georgievsk. 
21. — Cotton  declared  contraband, 
25.— Fall  of  Brest-Litovsk. 
Sept.     1. — Gen.  AlexeiefE  as  Chief  of  Staff. 

2.— Fall  of  Grodno. 

5. — Tsar  as  Generalissimo. 

7. — Russian  victory  near  Tarnopol. 
18.— FaU  of  Vilna. 
21. — Russian  retreat  ended. 
25. — Battle  of  Loos  and  in  Champagne. 
28. — Victory  at  Kut-el-Amara. 
Oct.     4. — Russian  ultimatum  to  Bulgaria. 

5. — Allied  landing  at  Salonika. 

6. — Austro-German  invasion  of  Serbia. 

9. — Belgrade  occupied. 
14. — Bulgaria  at  war  with  Serbia. 
17, — Allied  Note  to  Greece. 
19. — Lord  Derby  on  the  46  Groups. 
22. — Bulgarians  occupy  Uskub. 
28. — M.  Briand  French  Premier. 
Nov.     5. — Fall  of  Nish. 

22. — Battle  of  Ctesiphon. 
29. — British  \vithdrew  from  Ctesiphon. 
Dec.     2. — Fall  of  Monastir, 

3. — General  Townshend  at  Kut. 

9. — Allied  retreat  in  Macedonia. 
13. — Salonika  lines  fortified. 
15. — Sir  D.  Haig  C.-in-C.  in  France. 
19. — Withdrawal  from  Gallipoli. 
25, — Turkish  defeat  at  Kut. 


Jan.     8. — Gallipoli  evacuation  complete. 

13.— FaU  of  Cettigne. 
Feb.     9. — General  Smuts  appointed  to  East  Africa. 

16. — Russians  entered  Erzerum. 

18. — German  Kamerun  conquered. 

21. — Battle  of  Verdun  begun, 

24. — Germans  took  Fort  Douaumont. 

388  APPENDIX    G 

March  16, — Admiral  von  Tirpitz  dismissed. 
April     9. — German  assault  at  Verdun. 
17. — Russians  entered  Trebizond. 
24. — Rebellion  in  Ireland. 
29.— Fall  of  Kut-el-Amara. 
May  24. — British  Conscription  Bill  passed. 

31.— Battle  of  Jutland. 
June     4. — General  Brusiloff's  offensive. 
5. — Lord  Kitchener  lost  at  sea. 
14. — Allied  Economic  Conference  in  Paris. 
21. — Mecca  taken  by  Grand  Sherif. 
July     1. — Somme  Battle  begun. 

25, — Russians  occupied  Erznjan. 
Aug.     6. — Italian  offensive  on  Isonzo. 
10. — Russians  at  Stanislau. 
27. — Rumania  entered  the  War. 
29.— Hindenburg  Chief  of  Staff. 
Sept.     3. — Zeppelin  destroyed  at  Cuflfley. 

26. — British  took  Thiepval  and  Combles. 
Oct.   10. — Allied  ultimatum  to  Greece. 
Nov.     1. — Italian  advance  on  Carso. 

13. — British  victory  on  the  Ancre, 
is. — Serbians  and  French  took  Monastir. 
29.— Grand  Fleet  under  Sir  D.  Beatty, 
Dec.     l.—Anti- Allied  Riot  in  Athens. 
5. — Resignation  of  Mr.  Asquith. 
6. — Germans  enter  Bukarest. 
7. — Mr.  Lloyd  George  Prime  Minister. 
12. — German  "  Peace  Proposals." 
15. — French  victory  at  Verdun. 
20. — President  Wilson  s  Peace  Note. 


Jan.     1. — Turkey  denounced  Berlin  Treaty. 
Feb.     1. — "Unrestricted"  U-Boat  War  begun. 
3. — America  broke  with  Germany. 
6. — British  captured  Grandcourt. 
24. — British  took  Kut-el-Amara. 
March  11. — British  entered  Baghdad. 
12. — Revolution  in  Russia. 
15. — Abdication  of  the  Tsar. 
18. — British  entered  Peronne, 
21. — First  British  Imperial  War  Cabinet. 

APPENDIX    G  :}89 

April     6. — America  declared  war  on  Germany. 

9. — Battle  of  Vimy  Ridge  begun. 
May     4. — French  took  Craonne. 
14. — New  Italian  offensive. 
15. — General  Petain  French  C.-in-C. 
June     7. — British  victory  at  Messines  Ridge. 
12. — Abdication  of  King  Constantine. 
26. — First  American  troops  in  France. 
27. — Mesopotamia  Report  issued. 
29.^ — General  Allenby  commander  in  Egypt. 
July     1. — Last  Russian  offensive  begun. 
1 4. — Bethmann-Hollweg  dismissed. 
17. — British  Uoyal  House  styled  "  Windsor." 
19. — Reichstag  "Peace"  Resolution. 
24. — Russian  defeat  in  Galicia. 
31.— Great  Allied  attack  around  Ypres. 
Aug.  29. — President  Wilson's  Note  to  the  Pope. 
Sept.     4. — Germans  occupied  Riga. 

15.— Russian  Republic  proclaimed. 
28. — British  victory  at  Ramadieh. 
Oct.     9. — Allied  attack  in  Flanders. 
24.— Italian  defeat  at  Caporetto. 
29.— Fall  of  Udine. 
30. — Chancellor  Michaelis  dismissed. 
31. — British  captured  Beersheba. 
Nov.     1. — German  retreat  on  Chemin  des  Dames. 
4. — British  troops  in  Italy. 
6. — British  stormed  Passchendaele  Ridge. 
7.— British  captured  Gaza. 
8. — Bolshevist  coup  d'etat  in  Russia. 
9. — Italian  stand  on  the  Piave. 
17. — British  in  Jaffa. 

18. — Gen.  Maude's  death  in  Mesopotamia. 
20. — British  victory  at  Cambrai. 
30. — German  reaction  at  Cambrai. 
Dec.     6. — Armistice  on  Russian  Front. 
9. — British  captured  Jerusalem. 
22. — Brest  Conference  opened. 
26.— Sir  R.  Wemyss  First  Sea  Lord. 


Jan.     5. — Mr.  Lloyd  George  on  War  Aims. 
20. — Breslau  sunk  ;    Goehen  damaged. 

390  APPENDIX    G 

Feb.     1. — Germany  recognised  Ukraine. 

9. — First  Brest  Treaty  signed. 
16.— General  Wilson  Chief  of  Staflf. 
18. — German  invasion  of  Russia. 
21.— British  capture  Jericho. 
24. — Turks  recovered  Trebizond. 
25. — Germans  at  Reval. 
March     3.— Second  Brest  Treaty. 

7. — German  peace  with  Finland. 
11. — Turks  recovered  Erzerum. 
13. — Germans  at  Odessa. 
14. — Brest  Treaty  ratified  at  Moscow. 
21, — German  offensive  in  the  West. 
24. — Bapaume  and  Peronne  lost. 
April     5. — Allied  landing  at  Vladivostok. 

9. — New  Military  Service  Bill. 
11. — Armentieres  lost. 
13. — Turks  occupied  Batum. 
14, — General  Foch,  Allied  Generalissimo. 
15. — Bailleul  lost. 
18. — Lord  Milner  War  Secretary. 
22, — Naval  raid  on  Zeebrugge  and  Ostend. 
26.— Kemmel  Hill  lost. 
27. — Turks  occupied  Kars. 
30. — Germans  at  Viborg. 
May     1. — Germans  at  Sebastopol. 

9. — Second  Raid  on  Ostend. 
27. — Second  German  Offensive. 
29, — Soissons  lost  ;    Reims  held. 
31. — Germans  reached  Marne. 
June     1. — Attacks  towards  Paris  held. 

9. — New  German  assault. 
15. — Austrian  offensive  in  Italy. 
23. — Great  Austrian  defeat. 
July     2, — 1,000,000  Americans  shipped  to  France. 
15. — Third  German  offensive.     Second  Marne 

Battle  begun. 
16. — Ex-Tsar  shot  at  Ekaterinburg. 
18. — General  Foch's  counter-attack. 
20. — Germans  recrossed  the  Marne. 
Aug.     2. — Soissons  recovered. 

8. — British  attack  at  Amiens, 
29, — Bapaume  and  Noyon  regained. 

APPENDIX    G  391 

Se'pt.     1. — Peronne  recovered. 

2. — Drocourt-Queant  line  breached. 
12. — American  attack  at  St.  Mihiel. 
15. — Austrian  Peace  Note. 
17. — ^New  Macedonian  offensive. 
19. — British  advance  in  Palestine. 
Se'pt.  25. — Bulgaria  proposed  armistice. 
27. — Hindenburg  Line  broken. 
29. — Bulgaria  surrendered. 
30. — Fall  of  Damascus. 

Chancellor  Hertling  resigns. 
Oct.     1. — St.  Quentin  regained, 

4. — Abdication  of  King  Ferdinand. 
9. — Cambrai  regained. 
10,— British  took  Le  Cateau. 
13. — French  recovered  Laon. 
14. — British  troops  at  Irtkutsk. 
15. — British  in  Horns. 
17. — Ostend,  Lille,  Douai  regained. 
19. — Bruges  reoccupied. 
20. — Belgian  coast  clear. 
25. — Ludendorff  resigned. 
26. — Aleppo  fell  to  the  Allies. 
27. — Austria  sued  for  peace. 
28. — Italians  crossed  Piave. 
29. — Serbians  reached  the  Danube. 
30. — Turkey  granted  Armistice. 
Nov.     1. — Versailles  Conference  opened. 
2. — British  at  Valenciennes. 
3. — Austrian  Surrender. — Kiel  Mutiny. 
4. — Versailles  Armistice  Agreement. 
5. — Full  powers  for  Marshal  Foch.     Mr.  Wilson's 

Last  Note  to  Germany. 
6. — Americans  reached  Sedan. 
7. — Bavarian  Republic  proclaimed. 
9. — Foch  received  German  Envoys, 
Abdication  of  the  Kaiser. 
Chancellor  Prince  Max  resigned, 
Berlin  revolution. 
10.— Kaiser's  flight  to  Holland.     British  at  Mons, 
11, — Armistice  Terms  accepted. 




April  1915  to  March  1919 

Where  Stationed.  Joint  Conductors. 

Sandown  Park,  Esher.         No.  53  C.Q.M.S.  S.  Rendel. 
Wellington  Barracks.  No.  737  Sergt.  G.  Williams. 


Battalion  Concert  at  Esher,     (First  in  the  Regiment.) 
Steinway  Hall.  (Recorded  elsewhere.) 

Albert  Hall. 

Banquet  at  Princes'  Restaurant,  given  by  Col.  Lord 
Harlech,  Commanding  the  Welsh  Guards,  in  honour  of  the 
Mayor  and  Corporation  of  Cardiff,  who  presented  the  regi- 
ment with  a  cheque  for  the  purpose  of  band  instruments. 
The  choir  supplied  the  whole  of  the  musical  programme,  and 
afterwards  marched  back  to  Wellington  Barracks,  attracting 
a  large  crowd  of  people  by  their  singing. 

Presentation  of  the  Colours  by  His  Majesty  King  George  V 
at  Buckingham  Palace.  The  choir,  prior  to  the  consecration 
of  the  Colours  by  the  Bishop  of  St.  Asaph,  sang  "  Aberyst- 
wyth," "  Ton-y-Botel,"  and  "  Hen  Wlad  Fy  Nhadau." 

France  and  Belgium 

It  is  obvious  that  there  could  be  nothing  in  the  nature 
of  "  A  Notable  Concert  "  while  on  active  service — all  con- 
certs were  what  is  called  "  scratch  "  affairs,  and  were  very 
frequently  held.  The  first  occasion  on  which  the  choir  sang 
was  perhaps  at  Wiznes  on  September  4th,  1915,  at  a  concert 
given  by  the  officers  of  the  Machine  Gun  School,  when  the 
Prince  of  Wales  was  present.     The  choir  must  be  considered 


APPENDIX    H  393 

in  France  and  Belgium  as  the  leaven  of  song  in  the  battalion. 
The  really  effective  singing  did  not  come  from  the  choir 
standing  in  a  body  on  a  rough  platform,  but  from  the  heart 
of  the  battalion  when  going  into  battle  or  after  the  fight. 
"  In  the  sweet  bye  and  bye,  we  shall  meet  on  the  beauti- 
ful shore,"  after  the  bloody  engagement  at  Gouzeaucourt, 
when  the  shattered  battalion  was  withdrawn  to  a  wood 
behind  the  village,  brought  a  hush  over  the  camp.  The 
singers  were  hidden  amongst  the  trees  in  the  moonlight  and 
the  air  was  frosty  and  still.  This  was  not  a  concert,  but  a 
message,  a  song  of  hope  and  faith.  There  were  many  similar 
dramatic  moments. 

Nos.  737  Sergt.  Williams,  53  C.Q.M.S.  Rendel,  Sergt. 
Jones,  and  1,483  Guardsman  Houldsworth  were  the  leaders 
at  various  times. 


July  1915  to  March  1919 

Where  Stationed.  Conductor. 

Marlow.  No.   1,993  Sergt.  W.  Jones. 

Tower  of  London. 
Orpington,  Kent. 


Lady  Astor's  Hospital  at  Cliveden. — The  choir  were  taken 
up  the  river  in  steam  launches  and  gave  a  concert  to  a  great 
number  of  patients. 

French  Flag  Day  at  Marlow.  They  were  responsible  for 
raising  a  large  sum  of  money  for  the  fund. 

Savoy  Hotel  (St.  Dunstan's  Day).  They  sang  a  great 
number  of  old  Welsh  airs  to  a  most  appreciative  audience. 

London  Opera  House  on  St.  David's  Day,  1916.  They 
received  a  tremendous  ovation  from  a  huge  Welsh  audience. 

The  Alhambra,  St.  David's  Day  Matinee,  1917,  organised 
by  the  Countess  of  Lisburne.  They  sang  "  Y  Delyn  Aur  " 
and  "  Martyrs  of  the  Arena." 

In  addition  to  the  above  the  choir,  while  at  Orpington, 
gave  a  great  number  of  concerts  in  local  churches  and 

394  APPENDIX    H 

Where  Stationed,  Conductor. 

Tadworth.  No.  2,336  Cpl.  H.  Lewis. 


Concert  held  at  10,  Downing  Street,  1917,  in  aid  of  Welsh 
industries.  In  the  presence  of  H.R.H.  Princess  Mary  they 
sang  "  Comrades  in  Arms  "  and  "  0  mor  ber  yn  y  man." 

Giro's  Y.M.C.A. 

Where  Stationed.  Conductor. 

Ranelagh.  No.  2.466  Guardsman  Davies. 


Memorial  service  for  officers,  N.C.O.'s  and  men  who  died 
in  the  service  of  their  country  since  the  formation  of  the 
regiment,  February  27th,  1915,  held  at  Holy  Trinity  Church, 
Sloane  Street,  February  27th,  1918.  The  choir  rendered 
the  entire  choral  portion  of  the  service,  and  sang  in  Welsh 
"  Bethel,"  "  Huddersfield,"  "  Aberystwyth,"  and  "  Hen 
Wlad  Fy  Nhadau."  The  service  was  attended  by  H.R.H. 
Prince  of  Wales,  the  Lord  Mayor  and  Corporation  of  Cardiff, 
the  Mayors  of  many  Welsh  towns,  and  a  number  of  the 
Welsh  Members  of  Parliament. 

Where  Stationed.  Conductor. 

Ranelagh.  No.  3,707  Cpl.  J.  Davies. 


Ciro's  Y.M.C.A.  This  choir,  about  sixty  strong,  practised 
continuously  for  three  months,  showing  the  greatest  promise. 
They  were  only  permitted  to  give  one  concert  at  Ciro's 
Y.M.C.A.  before  at  least  forty  members  were  ordered  over- 


April  1915,  and  omuards 

Where  Stationed.  Conductor. 

Guards'  Depot,  No.   1,993  Guardsman,  later 

Caterham.  Sergt.  W.  Jones. 

APPENDIX    H  395 


Drill  Hall,  Caterham. 

Park  Hall,  Cardiff,  July  24th,  1915. 

The  history  of  this  Choir  has  already  been  recorded. 

Where  Stationed.  Conductor. 

Guards'  Depot,  No.  2,850  Guardsman 

Caterham.  T.  S.  Ellis. 


This  Choir,  with  many  changes  of  membership,  was  in 
existence  for  a  considerable  period.  It  sang  at  all  depot 
concerts,  and  proved  to  be  invaluable  in  training  men  before 
they  joined  the  Reserve  Battalion. 

Where  Stationed.  Conductor. 

Guards'  Depot,  No.  3,707  Cpl.  J.  Davies, 



Regimental  concert  in  aid  of  Prisoners  of  War  and  Com- 
forts' Fund  at  the  Apollo  Theatre,  June  11th,  1918,  whereby 
the  funds  in  question  benefited  by  £500. 

Welsh  Prisoners  of  War  Fund.  Service  at  Westminster 
Abbey,  June  22nd,  1918.  In  conjunction  with  picked  voices 
ol  the  London  Welsh  Choirs,  they  sang  eight  Welsh  hymns. 
The  service  was  attended  by  H.M.  Queen  Alexandra,  the 
Prime  ^Minister  and  some  10,000  people. 

National  Eisteddfod  of  Wales  at  Neath,  August  1918 
(recorded  elsewhere). 

Lord  Northcliffe's  luncheon  to  The  Times'  staff,  August 

Drill  Hall,  Caterham.  A  large  sum  of  money  was  raised 
for  a  local  fund,  the  attendance  being  record  for  the  hall. 

Concert  to  American  troops  at  Winchester,  September 
1918,  under  the  auspices  of  the  British  Committee  for 
Entertaining  American  Forces.  The  Choir  received  a  tre- 
mendous ovation  from  some  4,C00  i\.mericans. 

Several  concerts  at  the  Palladium,  the  Alhambra,  and 
Queen's  Hall,  under  the  auspices  of  the  National  Sunday 

Maesteg  Semi-National  Eisteddfod,   where  they  shared 

396  APPENDIX    H 

the  first  prize  with  the  local  choir,  the  test  piece,  "  Here's 
to  Admiral  Death,"  being  the  same  as  at  the  National 

Concert  at  Maesteg  Town  Hall  in  aid  of  Local  Heroes' 
Fund,  when  the  hall  was  filled  to  overflowing,  some  700 
people  standing  throughout  the  performance. 

Concert  in  aid  of  Prisoners  of  War  Fund,  regimental  and 
local,  at  the  Town  Hall,  Newport,  on  October  9th,  1918. 
The  Choir  was  previously  entertained  to  tea  by  the  Lord- 
Lieutenant  of  Monmouthshire,  Major-Gen.  Lord  Treowen, 
C.B.,  C.M.G.,  Major  J.  W.  Benyon  and  the  Mayor  of  New- 

Wood  Street  Congregational  Church,  Cardiff,  October  1 1th, 
1918.  Concert  in  aid  of  the  regimental  and  The  Western 
Mail  Prisoners  of  War  Funds. 

Concert  at  the  School  Hall,  Eton  College.  One  of  the 
most  successful  that  the  Choir  ever  gave,  due  to  the  enthu- 
siasm and  appreciation  shown  by  the  audience. 



[The  obelisks  (f)  indicate  the  number  of  wounds,] 






2506  Gdsn.  Abbott,  G.  W.  (Cardiff) 

2695      „      Abel,  E.  (Swansea)      . 

3267       „      Ablett,  F.  (Accrington) 

4863       ,,      Abraham,  I,  (Robertstown,  Glam.) 

3044       „      Acomley,  R.  (Burnley) 

894      „      Adams,  W.  (CUfynydd,  Glam.)     . 
2475      „      Adams,  H.  C.  (Canton,  Cardiff)    . 
2904      „      Adams,  A.  (Widnes,  Lanes.) 
4758       „      Adams,  E.  L.  (Merthyr  Tydfil)     . 
2874       „      Adamson,  H.  (Ashton-in-Makerfield) 
2616      „      Addison,  W.  W.  (London,  S.E.)   . 
3383       „      Adley,  E.  E.  (Swansea) 
2530      „      Adnitt,  T.  (Swansea)  . 
2783      „      Airey,  J.  (Ulverston,  Lanes.) 
1635      „      Aked,  P.  W.  (Liverpool)      . 
3899       „      Alderman,  E.  W.  (Birmingham)   . 

3  O.R.Q.M.S.  Alderson,  A.  (Appleby,  Westmoreland) 
3957  Gdsn.  Alderson,  J.  (Bradford,  Yorks.)    . 
4210  Musn.  Alexandra,  J.  H.  (London,  S.W.) 
4571  Gdsn.  Allan,  W.  (Pontnewydd,  Mon.)     . 

116       „      Allen,  T.  W.  (Haverfordwest,  Pern.) 

601  L/Cpl.  Allen,  S.  (Cardiff) 
1089  Gdsn.  Allen,  W.  (Wolverhampton) 


Allen,  S.  (Ammanford,  Carm.) 
Allen,  W.  (Penygraig,  Glam.) 
Allen,  W.  (Roch,  Pern.) 
Allen,  G.  E.  (Newport,  Mon.) 
Allen,  F.  (Coventry)  . 
Allen,  S.  (Mexborough,  Yorks.) 
Almond,  W.  (Bolton,  Lanes.) 
Alvis,  A.  C.  (Salisbury) 
Ames,  F.  B.  (Prescot)  ^'^ 
Anderson,  J.  (S.  Shields) 


K.  in  A. 


K.  inA. 

D.  of  Wds. 



K.  inA. 


D.  of  Wds. 


D.  of  Wds. 
K.  in  A. 












3434  „ 
1687  „ 
96  „ 
986  „ 
3144  „ 
3262  L/Cpl. 
3528  „ 
3795  Gdsn. 
3999  „ 
1872  „ 
1554      „ 









Anderson,  T.  (Newcastle-on-Tyne) 
Anderson,  T.  E.  (Gateshead 
Anderson,  H.  R.  (Swansea) 
Anstey,  G.  M.  (London) 
Antoney,  G.  M.  (London) 
Anthonv,  S.  (Swansea) 
Apps,    R.  F.  G.  (Brighton) 
Archer,  D.  R.  (Wrexham) 
Archer,  A.  M.  (Wrexham) 
Arkwell,  T.  (Newport) 
Armstrong,  G.  (Uttoxeter) 
Arnold,  T.  R.  (Merth;y-r) 
-Cook  Arnold,  J.  (Machynlleth) 
Arnold,  C.  H.  (Pontypridd) 
Arnold,  A.  S.  (Dorchester) 
Arrowsmith,  H.  (Aberdare) 
Arthur,  D.  S.  (Merthyr) 
Ashford,  O.  (Norwich) 
Ashley,  G.  (Welshpool) 
Ashton,  E.  (Ystaljrfera) 
Ashurst,  W.  (Ashton-under-Lyne 
Ash  worth,  A.  (Oldham) 
Askew,  W.  (Liverpool) 
Aspinall,  F.  (Ruabon) 
Aston,  I.  (Port  Talbot) 
Atchinson,  R.  (Chesterfield) 
Atkins,  P.  (London)    . 
Atkinson,  T.  (Wrexham) 
Atkinson,  T.  (SUsden) 
Atldnson,  H.  G.  (Ilkeston) 
Atkiss,  G.  H.  (Hucknall) 
It.  Attfield,  C.  (London,  N.W.) 
Atyeo,  E.  J.  (Neath)  . 
Aubrey,  W.  G.  (Pontyberem) 
Aubrey,  D.  I.  (Swansea) 
Austin,  S.  T.  (Gower) 
Austin,  W.  (Bridgend) 
Austin,  R.  (Bridgend) 
Aylesbury,  F.  W.  (Bargoed 

Baggott,  S.  (LlandUo) 
Bagley,  E,  (Brownhills) 
Baglow,  G.  (Swansea). 
Bailey,  A.  R.  (Swansea) 
Bailey,  F.  W.  (Fleet)  . 
Bailey,  F.  C.  (Newport) 
Bailey,  H.  H.  (Portsmouth) 
Bailey,  T.  W.  (Birmingham) 
Bailey,  H.  (Caerphilly) 
Bainbridge,  J.  E.  (Carmarthen) 
Baines,  A.  (Wrexham) 




D.  of  Wds. 

t  D.C.M. 

K.  in  A. 


M.M.  and  Bar. 




K.  in  A. 

K.  in  A.        M.M. 

K.  in  A. 

t  M.M. 

D.  of  Wds. 

t  t  t 

K.  in  A. 

K.  in  A. 






2217  Gdsn.  Baines,  E.  H.  (Church) 
3432      „      Baines,  J.  (St.  Helen's) 

3318  Cpl 

Baker,  G.  E.  (Grantham)     . 
Baker,  P.  W.  (Peterston-super-Ely) 
Baker,  J.  (Handbridge) 
Baker,  T.  (Caerphilly) 
Baker,  G.  H.  (London) 
Baker,  G.  (Bury  St.  Edmunds) 

3465  Gdsn.  Baker,  F.  H.  (Cardiff) 

3809  „      Baker,  H.  (Birmingham)      . 
4301       „      Baker,  J.  A.  (Crowley) 
3839       „      Balcombe,  F.  (Icklesham)    . 
1254       „      Baldwin,  S.  T.  (Aberdare)    . 
3160       „      Baldwin,  J.  (Chelmsford)      . 

557  L/Cpl.  Bale,  R.  (Caerphilly)  . 

117  Gdsn.  Ball,  S.  L.  (Neath)      . 
4506  Cpl.      Banks,  K.  L.  (Cardiff) 
1337  Gdsn.  Bannister,  C.  J.  (Cardiff)      . 
2383  L/Cpl.  Bannister,  J.  R.  (Pontypridd) 
1095  lySergt.  Barber,  H.  (Cardiff) 
1352  Gdsn.  Barber,  J.  R.  (Newport)       . 

861       „      Barker,  F.  L.  (Swansea) 
1212       „      Barker,  R.  C.  (Cardiff) 

128       „      Barlow,  A.  J.  (Tredegar)      , 
1072       „      Barlow,  F.  (London)   . 

643  „      Barnes,  H.  G.  (Pentre) 
1898  R.S.M.  Barnes,  E.  (Street)    . 
2674  Gdsn.  Barnes,  R.  (Ystrad  Mynach) 
2902  L/Cpl.  Barnes,  J.  E.  (Accrington)  . 
3101  Gdsn.  Barnes,  E.  (Pwllheli)  . 
1183  L/Cpl.  Barnett,  J.  (Ammanford)     . 
3129  Gdsn.  Baron,  J.  (Liverpool)  . 
4309       ,,      Barrett,  G.  (Amersham) 

1439       „      Barther,  H.  J.  (Penmaenmawr) 
364  Sergt.  Bartlett,  C.  W.  F.  (Bristol) 
4615  Gdsn.  Bartlett,  F.  W.  (Gilfach  Goch) 
3552       „      Bartley,  J.  H.  (Bodfari) 

3810  „      Barton,  R.  H.  (Birmingham) 
1387      „      Basten,  C.  (Cardiff)     . 

532       „      Bate,  J.  C.  (Wrexham) 
296       „      Bateman,  D.  (Newport) 
390      „      Bateman,  W.  E.  (Bury) 
3937       „      Bates,  J.  (Belford)       . 
3868  L/Cpl.  Batterby,  J.  (London) 
1902       „      Battey,  C.  E.  (Bridgend) 
4173       ,,      Baxter,  H.  (Birmingham) 
1265  Gdsn.  Beach,  B.  (Llanover)  . 

644  „      Beale,  D.  R.  (Cowbridge) 
3203      „      Beard,  M.  R.  (Flint)   . 
4739      „      Beard,  C.  (Merthyr)     . 

11  C.S.M.  Beardsmore,  J.  (Ilkeston) 





t  D.  of  Wds. 


K.  in  A. 





D.  of  S. 


K.  inA. 








t  K.  in  A. 

K.  in  A. 







"ff-     Rank. 




1273  Gdsn.  Beavan,  E.  T.  (Ystalyfera) 

193  Sergt.  Beazer,  W.  C.  (Resolven) 
4249  Gdsn.  Beazer,  J.  A.  (Neath) 

443  Cpl.     Bebb,  J.  H.  (Newport) 

398  Gdsn.  Beck,  F.  P.  (Swansea) 
3698      „      Beck,  A.  E.  (Wrexham) 
4126      „      Beckett,  S.  (Middlewich) 
4542       „      Beckett,  E.  J.  (Bargoed) 
5321       „      Beddoe,  J.  H.  (Forth) 
2524      „      Bedford,  G.  T.  J.  (Llanwenarth) 
2005  L/Cpl.  Beech,  E.  H.  (Wrexham) 
2536  Gdsn.  Beer,  J.  R.  (Cardiff)    . 
2325      „      Belch,  E.  (Hengoed)   . 
2275  Musn.  Belding,  T.  (London)  . 
2465  Gdsn.  BeU,  L.  P.  (Cardiff)     . 

306      „      Bellison,  B.  (Stoke-on-Trent) 
4303       „      Bellwood,  O.  (Normanton) 
3821       „      Belton,  A.  P.  (Brighton) 
2272       „      Bendall,  G.  W.  (Swansea) 
3915      „      Bender,  W.  (London,  S.E.) 

101       „      Bendon,  W.  (Cardiff)  . 
2996      „      Benham,  J.  (Swansea) 
1247       „      Benjamin,  T.  (Abernant) 
1287       „      Bennett,  W.  (Aberdare) 
1600       „      Bennett,  W.  C.  (Cardiff) 
2812       „      Bennett,  A.  (Huddersfield) 
2886       „      Bennett,  T.  (Neston)  . 
3188      „      Bennett,  B.  A.  (Clacton) 
4057      „      Bennett,  F.  (Redditch) 
4846       „      Bennett,  W.  J.  (Llanmorlais) 

534  CpL     Bentley,  T.  (Ashbourne) 
2262  Gdsn.  Bernard,  J.  (Gnosall)  . 
4307       „      Berry,  M.  (Little  Lever). 
4524       „      Berry,  H.  (Hull) 

890  L/Cpl.  Beswick,  J.  (Bargoed) 
3819  Gdsn.  Betsworth,  H.  F.  (Eastbourne) 
4591       „      Bettley,  H.  (Newport) 
4143       „      Betts,  A.  G.  (AbertiUery) 

303  C.Q.M.S.  Bevan,  D.  J.  (Burry  Port) 
3360  Gdsn.  Bevan,  H.  W.  (Bristol) 
3854      „      Bevan,  T.  (Syston)      . 
4680      „      Bevan,  H.  A.  (Cardiff) 
3329       „      Bevins,  F.  (Ulverston) 

676      „      Bevis,  E.  J.  (Caerphilly) 
2931       „      Beynon,  J.  (Merthyr)  . 
4756      „      Beynon,  W.  F.  (Llantwit) 
2359      „      Bibey,  B.  (Blaenavon) 
4428      „      Bickley,  A.  R.  (Worcester) 

638  „      Biffen,  H.  (Bargoed)   . 

639  „      Biffen,  F.  (Bargoed)    . 
833  Biggs,  J,  (Aberdare)    . 


tD.  ofWds. 
D.  of  Wds. 


D.  of  Wds. 
K.  inA. 


K.  inA. 


D.  of  Wds. 
D.  of  Wds. 




K.  in  A. 




APrENDlX    I 






4436  Gdsn.  BUby,  R.  B.  (London) 
3770      „      Billingham,  F.  (Birmingham 

243  L/Sergt.  Birch,  J.  R.  (Swansea) 
1055  L/Cpl.  Birch,  H.(Bewdley)     . 
4250  Sergt.-Drm.  Birch,  C.  E.  (Windsor 
1069  Gdsn.  Bird,  A.  (Birkenhead) 
1516      „      Bird,  G.  (Llanfoist)     . 
2079      „      Bird,  H.  (Cardiff) 
2443      „      Bird,  A.  (Cardiff) 
2071       „      Bishop,  E.  (Pontnewynydd) 
2654       „      Bishop,  E.  H.  (Cardiff) 
2669      „      BitheU,  W.  (Denbigh) 
2279      „      Black,  W.  J.  (Sittingbourne) 
3038       „      Blacklidge,  S.  (Darwen) 

580      „      Blackmore,  W.  (Cardiff) 
5262       „      Blackwell,  J.  (Cardiff) 
1666       „      Blain,  A.  J.  (Llanelly) 

509  Cpl.     Blake,  N.  T.  (Newport) 
3509  Gdsn.  Blake,  C.  T.  (Trealaw) 
1060      „      Blakeley,  T.  T.  (Eccles) 
4124       „      Blanchard,  A.  (Bath)  . 

2  R.S.M.  Bland,  W.  (Church  Stretton) 

Bland,  S  (Oswestry)  . 
Blatcher,  F.  E.  (Crayford)   . 
Bleasdale,  J.  W.  (Padiham) 
Blewett,  G.  C.  (Pembrey)     . 
Blick,  V.  (Neath) 
Bloss,  Z.  (Badingham) 
Bodden,  D.  (Corwen)  . 
Bodman,  G.  W.  H.  (Whitland) 
Bonar,  C.  A.  (Cardiff) 
Bond,  F.  (Cirencester) 
Bootes,  A.  (Tonbridge) 
Booth,  J.  (Pontymister) 
Booth,  R.  (Castleford) 
Booth,  R.  (Waken eld) 
Booth,  J.  J.  (Liverpool) 
Bosanquet,  R.  E.  (Cardiff)  . 
Boswell,  W.  T.  (Cardiff)       . 
Boswell,  E.  D.  (Merthyr)     . 
Bottcher,  W.  (St.  Mary's)    . 
Boulton,  T.  (Wigan)    . 
Boulton,  M.  W.  (Birmingham) 
Bound,  D.  A.  (Aberdare)     . 
Bourne,  H.  (Tenby)     . 
Bowcock,  T.  (Warrington)    . 
,  Bowden,  A.  H.  (Newport)    . 
Bowdler,  A.  (Pont3^ridd)    . 
Bowdler,  D.  R.  (Cardiff)      . 
Bowen,  W.  A.  (Perth) 










761  Sergt. 
472  Gdsn. 


338  Cpl. 
1574  Gdsn. 












796  L/Cpl 
605  Gdsn. 






K.  in  A. 



D.  of  Wds. 





D.  of  Wds. 



K.  in  A. 

t  K.  m  A. 

M.C.,  Med.  Mil., 
Croix-de-Guerre  (Fr.). 



K.  in  A. 

K.  in  A. 





K.  in  A. 

K.  in  A. 
K.  in  A. 



t  D.  of  Wds. 





404  L/Sergt.  Bowen,  D.  (Swansea) 
1162  Gdsn.  Bowen,  F.  T.  (Aberystwyth) 
1788  Cpl.     Bowen,  H.  C.  (BrynmawT) 
2483  Gdsn.  Bowen,  J.  T.  (Kilgerran) 
3323      „      Bowen,  W.  T.  (Cardiff) 
5798       „      Bowen,  W.  J.  (Swansea) 
3531  L/Cpl.  Bowers,  P.  (Southsea) 

403  Sergt.  Bowles,  C.  O.  (Haverfordwest) 
3445  Gdsn.  Bowley,  P.  T.  (Andover) 
1053       „      Bown,  S.  (Carlton)       . 
2159      „      Bowyer,  E.  F.  (Oswestry) 
5525      „      Boyatt,  T.  E.  (Tenby) 
4740       „      Boyce,  C.  G.  (Bridgwater) 

4897  „      Boyce,  C.  F.  (Abertillery) 

4898  „      Boyce,  W.  (Newport)  . 
2478       „      Boyle,  E.  (Pontypridd) 
2750      „      Boyle,  G.  W.  (London,  S.E. 
1602      „      Brabyn,  S.  J.  (Cardiff) 

4305  „      Brackpool,  S.  J.  (Gillingham) 
3619  L/Cpl.  Bradley,  G.  (Cardiff)   . 
4616  Gdsn.  Bradley,  A.  E.  (Rogerstone) 
2632  Musn.  Brain,  A.  H.  (London) 
3143  Gdsn.  Braithwaite,  J.  G.  (Liverpool) 

528       „      Brake,  J.  (Cross  Keys) 
4308       „      Bramley,  J.  (Alfreton) 

90  Pnr.  Sergt.  Branch,  C.  (Cardiff) 
2039  Gdsn.  Branch,  T.  (Blaenrhondda) 

4306  „      Branstone,  F.  E.  (Coventry) 
3290      „      Brant,  R.  J.  (Bracknell) 
4028       „      Bratton,  C.  C.  (Welshpool) 

799       „      Brazell,  G.  L.  (Swansea) 
3847       „      Brealey,  A.  C.  G.  (Luton) 
4175       ,,      Bree,  H.  (Leicester)     . 
2396      „      Breeze,  J.  T.  (Ruabon) 
3353       „      Brewer,  G.  H.  (Bristol) 
3963       „      Brewer,  A.  (Wealdstone) 

308       „      Briant,  W.  (Chichester) 
2795       „      Bridge,  W.  (Warrington) 
2839  L/Sergt.  Bridge,  J.  (St.  Helen's) 
4310  Gdsn.  Bridgeman,  L.  (Walford; 

256       „      Bridges,  W.  R.  (Treharris) 
3278  L/Cpl.  Bridges,  A.  (Windsor) 

56  Gdsn.  Bright,  P.  (Abergavenny) 
4424       „      Brint,  L.  (Gloucester) 

958      „      Britten,  A.  (Llanelly)  . 

171       „      Britton,  D.  (Swansea) 
3981       „      Broad,  A.  L.  (Gravesend) 
4053       „      Brocklehurst,  H.  (Appleton) 
2104  Musn.  Brook,  F.  (London)     . 
2636  Gdsn.  Brookman,  T.  (Cardiff) 
3778      „      Brooks,  L.  (Oxford)    . 


D.  of  Wds. 

K.  in  A. 

D.  of  Wds. 




K.  inA. 



t  D.  of  Wds. 




K.  inA. 

K.  in  A. 

K.  inA. 



K.  inA. 




^^!-  i^-* 



Oasnalties.            ^,f;^\^- 

4304  Gdsn 

Brooks,  S 

(Bolton)     .... 

1869  Cpl. 

Broom,  J. 


.     K.  in  A.        M.M. 

2294  Gdsn 

Broome,  A.  (Airdrie)  . 

.     tt 

2295      „ 

Broome,  T.  (Welshpool) 

.     t 

891  Sergt 

.  Brothers, 

C.  H.  (Bridgend) 

285  Gdsn 

Brown,  A 

(Cardiff)      . 

*     t 

595      „ 

Brown,  F. 

W.  (Cardiff) 

.     tt 

1342      „ 

Brown,  E 

S.  (Cardiff) 

.     tt 

1661       „ 

Brown,  W 

.  (Cardiff)    . 

.     D.  of  Wds. 

2220      „ 

Brown,  D 

(Neath)      . 

.     t                    M.M. 

2946      „ 

Brown,  J. 

W.  (London,  S.E 


.     D.  of  Wds. 

3541       „ 

Brown.  R 

E.  (Bristol) 

3774      „ 

Brown,  F. 

C.  (Bournemouth) 

!     K.  in  A. 

3884      „ 

Brown,  G. 

H.  (Ashton  Keynes) 

•     tt 

3891       „ 

Brown,  J. 

E.  (Mold)   . 

.     t 

4282      „ 

Brown,  S. 

D.  (Caerphilly)    . 

4684      „ 

Brown,  L. 

(Mynyddislwyn)  . 

1772  L/Ser 

gt.  Brum  well,  T.  L.  (Llansantffraic 


1372  Gdsn. 

Bryan,  A. 

A.  (Cardiff) 

3789      „ 

Bryan,  J. 


K.  inA 

940      „ 

Bryant,  H 

.  (Bridgend) 

1460      „ 

Bryant,  T 

G.  (Cardiff) 

1789  L/Sergt.  Bryant, 

H.  (Cardiff) 


95  L/Cpl 

.  Buck,  P. 

(Penarth)     . 

t  K.  in  A. 

2514  Gdsn. 


S. (London) 

K.  inA. 

1810  L/Ser 

gt.  Buckland,  J.  C.  (Ruthin) 


2153  Gdsn. 

Budd,  G. 


2938      „ 


S.  (London,  W.) 


3221       „ 

Bugler,  F. 

(Witchampton)   . 


1080      „ 

Bull,  S.  S. 

(Derby)      . 


4847      „ 

Bullock,  W.  (Cardiff)  . 

129      „ 

Bunce,  H. 

C.  (Kidderminster) 


4574      „ 

Bundy,  D. 


1611       „ 


H.  (Cardiff) 

,     K,  in  A. 

2307      „ 

Burch,  H. 

(Newport)  . 

2196  Musn 

Burditt,  F 

.  (Kettering) 

1509  Gdsn. 

Burfitt,  T. 

A.  (Cardiff) 


913      „ 

Burford,  1 

\  H.  (Aberdare)   . 


164       „ 

Burge,  J. 


425  L/Ser 

gt.  Burge,  C.  (Cardiff)  . 



Burke,  J.  (Tyldesley) 


2984  Gdsn. 

Burke,  C. 

[Newport)    • 

t  D.  of  Wds. 

1136       „ 

Burleigh,  G.  H.  (Belbroughton)    . 


882  L/Sergt.  Burman 

,  G.  W.  (Cardiff)  . 

t  t                M.M. 

2484  Cpl. 

Burman,  W.  (Swanea) 


849  Gdsn. 

Burridge,  < 

J.  (Ogmore  Vale) 

D.  of  Wds. 

230      „ 

Burrows,  J.  (Golborne) 

t  K.  in  A. 

255  L/Cpl 

.  Burrows, 

L.  (Brecon) 


2200  Gdsn. 

Burt,  V.  C 

.  (Cardiff)    . 


589      „ 

Burton,  W 

.  C.  (Barry) 

t  t                M.M. 

4302      „ 

Burton,  C. 





«^|-    Rank. 


478  L/Cpl.  Bush,  J.  (Cardiff) 
2339  Cpl.     Bush,  J.  R.  (London,  N.E.) 
2819  Gdsn.  Bush,  I.  (Port  Talbot) 
2226  L/Sergt.  Bushell,  S.  C.  (Barry) 
1288  Gdsn.  Butchers,  G.  (Whitebrook) 
1048      „      Butler,  A.  G.  (London) 
2553       „      Butler,  J.  H.  (Tredegar) 
2558       „      Butler,  D.  A.  (Pengam) 

3752  „      Butler,  F.  A.  (Wolverhampton) 
1690      „      Butt,  C.  W.  (Churchdown) 
2653       „      Butters,  W.  (London,  N.W.) 
3089       „      Butterworth,  F.  (Eagley) 
3138       „      Butterworth,  H.  (London,  W.) 
3518       „      Button,  J.  (LlaneUy)  . 
3935      „      Button,  F.  (Newton)  . 
4841       „      Bwye,  A.  (Barry) 

939  Sergt.  Bye,  R.  (Llanwonno)  . 
3452  Gdsn.  Bye,  L.  (Cheltenham) 
3423      „      Byles,  T.  (London,  N.E.) 

133       „      Byng,  E.  (Swansea)     . 

4023  Gdsn.  Caffrey,  T.  E.  (Blackburn) 

3831       „      Caines,  C.  J.  (Lewes)  . 

1527       „      Calcutt,  T.  W.  (Hayward's  Heath) 

476       „      Caldwell,  J.  (Haslingden) 
2856  L/Sergt.  CaldweU,  J.  (St.  Helen's; 

42  Sergt.  Callaghan,  T,  (Cwmcarn) 
3749  Gdsn.  Campbell,  H.  L.  (Chailey) 
4000      „      Cannock,  F.  (Caerphilly) 
3068       „      Cannon,  T.  (Rawtenstall) 
4202      „      Cannon,  R.  H.  (London,  S.E.) 

791       „      Cantwell,  F.  J.  (Aberdare) 
3539      „      Capson,  W.  (Bristol)   . 
3788       „      CardweU,  T.  W.  (Stonehouse) 
3087       „      Carlisle,  F.  (Talysarn) 
3895       „      Carlisle,  E.  (Bolton)    . 

3753  „      Carmouche,  V.  J.  (Leeds) 
947       „      Carpenter,  W.  E.  (Mountain  Ash) 

2948  L/Cpl.  CarroU,  C.  M.  (London,  S.E 
3760  Gdsn.  Carron,  S.  (Liverpool) 
663  Sergt.  Carter,  N.  (Bangor)     . 
1023  Gdsn.  Carter,  J.  L.  (Tetbury) 

Carter,  W.  H.  (Bridgend) 
Carter,  C.  (Maidstone) 
Carter,  W.  (Andover)  . 
Carter,  J.  W.  (Leigh)  . 
Carter,  A.  J.  (Cambridge) 
Carter,  F.  (Wootton)  . 
Carter,  S.  (Cambridge) 
Cartwright,  J.  (Warrington) 

1497  L/Cpl.  Carver,  J.  (Brecon) 


t  K.  in  A. 

K.  in  A. 
K.  in  A. 


K.  in  A. 


K.  inA. 





K.  inA. 
K.  in  A. 


K.  in  A. 


K.  inA. 


K.  inA. 


t  K.  inA. 
K.  inA. 
D.  of  Wds. 
K.  in  A. 


K.  inA. 

K.  in  A. 





3849  Gdsn. 





2976  L/Cpl. 

















1864  Gdsn. 









465  Gdsn. 










13  C.S.M. 




196  Sergt. 



2763  Gdsn. 










1231  Gdsn. 








Cash,  A.  H.  (Done aster) 
Cashell,  H.  M.  (Pontymister) 
Cass,  F.  (Birmingham) 
Catchpole,  A.  H.  (Penarth) 
CavUl,  H.  J.  (Cardiff) 
Chadwick,  M.  H.  (Bradford) 
Chamberlain,  E.  (Rhondda) 
Chamberlain,  J.  E.  (Middlewich) 
Chandler,  C.  E.  (London) 
Chapman,  J.  (London) 
Chapman,  F.  C.  (Brighton) 
Chapman,  F.  H.  (Smarden) 
Charles,  B.  J.  (Cardiff) 
Charlton,  J.  (Durham) 
Charman,  W.  (London,  S.W.) 
Chamley,  R.  F.  (Clitheroe) 
Chave,  A.  (Tiverton)  . 
;t.  Cheal,  J.  (Cardiff)    . 
Cheal,  A.  H.  (Cardiff) 
Chester,  H.  (Pontypridd) 
Cheverton,  C.  E.  (Llanybyther) 
Chilcott,  J.  (Port  Talbot) 
Chilton,  S.  (Brynmawr) 
Chirgwin,  H.  (Cardiff) 
Chivers,  T.  J.  (Abertillery) 
Chivers,  F.  B.  (Forth) 
Chivers,  J.  F.  B.  (Portsmouth) 
Chivers,  T.  J.  (Cymmer) 
Chivers,  E.  G.  (Tonyrefail) 
Christiansen,  G.  B.  (Liverpool) 
Christmas,  J.  N.  (Hove) 
Chubb,  T.  (Tonypandy) 
Chuck,  F.  (London,  S.W.) 
,  Church,  W.  J.  (Cardiff) 
Church,  F.  W.  (Llandinan) 
Churches,  T.  (Cardiff) 
Churm,  S.  (Bilston)     . 
Clack,  A.  (Witney)      . 
Clancey,  D.  T.  (Sully) 
Clapp,  J.  T.  (Merthyr) 
Clare,  F.  H,  (Llangollen) 
Clark,  W.  (Oldbury)    . 
Clark,  F.  W.  (Bradford-on-Avon) 
Clark,  W.  A.  G.  (Gloucester) 
Clarke,  J.  (Walsall)      . 
Clarke,  A.  E.  (Barry  Dock) 
.M.S.  Clarke,  W.  J.  (London,  N.) 
Clarke,  F.  (Newport)  . 
Clarke,  A.  (Newport)  . 
Clarke,  J.  (Penarth)    . 
Clarke,  T.  H.  (Tonypandy)  . 




D.  of  Wds. 
K.  inA. 







K.  in  A. 







t  K.  in  A. 

t       M.M.  and  Bar. 


K.  in  A. 


K.  in  A. 



^1*^'-      Rank.                                        Name. 

Casualties.            ^-7 

3173  Gdsn.  Clarke,  H.  F.  (Colchester)    . 

.      t 

3289       „      Clarke,  W.  (Didcot)     . 

3964      „      Clarke,  A.  (Harrow)    . 


4484       „      Clarke,  F.  (Cardiff)      . 

5666       „      Clarke,  E.  (LlaneUy)    . 

3039      „      Claxton,  G.  (Rawtenstall)    . 


3426       „      Clayton,  E.  F.  (Basingstoke) 

1842       „      Clee,  W.  E.  (Ystalyfera)       . 

t  K.  inA. 

3685      „      Clegg,  J.  (Bumley)      . 


2281  Dmr.  Clement,  A.  W.  (Swansea)   . 


2298  L/Sergt.  Clement,  H.  W.  (Cardiff) 


1039  Gdsn.  Clements,  W.  F.  (Bristol)     . 

K.  in  A. 

118      „      Clifford,  R.  (Cardiff)    . 

1001  L/Cpl.  Clifford,  J.  W.  (Middlesborough)  . 


4315      „      Clifton,  T.  (Loughborough)  . 


3643      „      Clothier,  A.  C.  (Cardiff) 

3913       „      Cloughton,  C.  (Fairstead)     . 

D.  of  Wds. 

2074      „      Clucas,  T.  (Cardiff)      . 

3960      „      Coad,  W.  E.  (London,  S.E.) 

75  Sergt.  Coates,  S.  A.  (Newport) 


4732  Gdsn.  Cobley,  S.  (Caerphilly) 

3537      „      Cockbaine,  H.  W.  (Bristol)  . 

2995      „      Cockerill,  W.  J.  (York) 

4763       „      Cockram,  G.  T.  (Aberaman) 

2968       „      Cohen,  J.  (Cardiff)       . 


4848       „      Colcombe,  W.  (Treharris)     . 

3317      „      Coldrick,  C.  (Cohie)     . 

K.  in  A. 

633      „      Cole,  G.  (Pembroke)    . 


4274      „      Cole,  W.  T.  (Femdale) 

1202       „      Coleman,  I.  (Aberavon) 

78  Dmr.  Coles,  T.  H.  (Newport) 

1981  Gdsn.  Coles,  F.  (Bargoed)     . 

2619       „      Coles,  C.  J.  (Newport) 

D.  of  Wds. 

1036  Dmr.  Coley,  L.  (Halesowen) 

2780  Gdsn.  CoUett,  H.  A.  (Newport)      . 


2093       „      Collier,  W.  (Rhondda) 


2557      „      Collier,  C.  (London),  E. 


1034      „      CoUins,  G.  (Cheltenham)      . 

2873       „      Collin?,  W.  J.  J.  (Swansea)  . 

3779       „      Collins,  W.  (Penarth)  . 

4288       „      Collins,  J.  F.  (Windsor) 

4645      „      CoUins,  G.  S.  (Forth)  . 

3904      „      Colton,  W.  H.  (Liverpool)    . 

D.  of  Wds. 

879      „      Comley,  E.  (Aberdare) 


672      „      Congdon,  D.  A.  (Dunbar)     . 


1014      „      Connick,  A.  (Swansea) 

4538      „      Connolly,  J.  (Cardiff)  .         .         .         . 

2699       „      Conway,  J.  (Cardiff)    .          .          .          . 

2959      „      ConwU,  G.  H.  (Sheffield)      . 

1314      „      Cook,  R.  A.  (Neath)    . 


1995      „      Cook,  W.  S.  (Cardiff)  .         .         .         . 







2146  Gdsn.  Cook,  I.  A.  (Newport) 
2988      „      Cook,  E.  G.  (London,  S.E.) 
3961       „      Cook,  T.  (Blyth) 
4316  L/Cpl.  Cook,  A.  E.  (London,  S.E.) 

700  Gdsn.  Cooke,  F.  H.  (Swansea) 
3009       „      Cooke,  F.  G.  (Famham) 
4622       „      Cooke,  A.  (Llantrisant) 
1258      „      Cooksley,  G.  A.  (Cardiff) 
3361       „      Cookson,  J,  (Crosby)  . 
2015      „      Coombes,  H.  G.  (Newport) 
2804       „      Coombes,  W.  (London) 

341       „      Cooper,  J.  T.  (Ellesmere  Port) 

563      ,,      Cooper,  S.  (London)    . 
2775  O.R.C.S.  Cooper,  A.  (Chertsey) 
4123  Gdsn.  Cooper,  A.  (Newcastle-on-Tyne) 
3326      „      Cootes,  S.  J.  (Brecon) 
2756      „      Copley,  W.  T.  (Tumble) 
4607      „      Copp,  W.  (Mardy) 
2205      „      Corbett,  S.  (Wrexham) 
3086      „      Corbett,  G.  O.  (Cardiff) 

660      „      Corcoran,  J.  (Aberaman) 
4168      „      Cordes,  B.  (Gateshead) 
3315       „      Cornell,  T.  J.  (Swansea) 
2390      „      Cornish,  F.  H.  (Pembroke) 
4016      „      Cornelius,  J.  H.  (London,  S.E.) 

324  Sergt.  Cory,  C.  H.  (Newport; 
1010  L/Cpl.  Cosford,  F.  E.  H.  (London,  S.E.) 
3564  Gdsn.  Cosh,  C.  (Cardiff) 

16  C.S.M.  Cossey,  D.  J.  (Skewen) 
3305  Gdsn.  CosteUo,  J.  (Bacup)     . 

479  Sergt.  Couch,  D.  (Merthyr)    . 
4605  Gdsn.  Couch,  A.  C.  (Cardiff) 
3889      „      CouldweU,  A.  W.  (Cardiff) 
4041      „      Coulson,  C.  (Goole)      . 
3478      „      Cound,  F.  (Worcester) 

281      „      CounseU,  C.  (Whitchurch) 
2555  Musn.  Coverley,.W.  (Penmaenmawr) 

1667  Gdsn.  Cowley,  D.  (Swansea) 
3934      „      Cowley,  A.  H.  (Wrexham) 
2188       „      Cowlishaw,  J.  (Malvern) 
84  Sergt.  Cox,  J.  R.  H.  (Cardiff) 

504  Gdsn.  Cox,  W.  H.  (Cardiff)  . 

869      „      Cox,  D.  (Ystalyfera)    . 

3743      „      Cox.  W.  M.  (Brighton) 

3970  L/Cpl.  Cox,  W.  (Hoo)    . 

4002      „      Cox,  J.  (Longnor) 

5785  Gdsn.  Cox,  L.  (Cwmcam) 

1358  C.S.M.  Coyne,  T.  (Glasgow) 
585  Gdsn.  Crabtree,  R.  A.  (Cardiff) 
616       „      Craddock,  J.  (Newport) 

2433  Musn.  Craig,  D.  J.  (Edinburgh) 




K.  iuA. 

t  K.inA. 






D.  ol  Wds. 




t  t  M.M. 


M.M.  and  Bar. 

D.  of  Wds. 


K.  in  A. 






^^.ftl.    Bank. 


2502  Gdsn.  Craig,  W.  (Fochriw)    . 
3281      „      Cram,  G.  (Jarrow) 

223      „      Cramp,  J.  J.  (Aberavon) 

576       „      Craven,  W.  (Llandudno) 
1255       „      Crawford,  W.  (Wrexham) 
4299  A/Sergt.  Crawshaw,  A.  T.  (London,  N.W.) 
1883  Gdsn.  Cray,  W.  (LlaneUy)     . 
1532      „      Creasey,  A.  W.  (Cardiff) 
4153       „      Crebbin,  J.  H.  (Liverpool) 
1076      „      Criddle,  G.  A.  (Cardiff) 
3883      „      Criddle,  P.  (Liverpool) 
2482      „      Crompton,  J.  H.  (Swansea) 
3256      „      Crook,  A.  G.  (Chepstow) 
3834      „      Crook,  R.  (AbertiUery) 
2794      „      Crooks,  J.  W.  (Bramhall) 

149  Sergt.  Cross,  C.  H.  (Bristol)  . 

428  Gdsn.  Cross,  W.  J.  (Cardiff) 
3450      „      Cross,  S.  (Warrington) 
3277      „      Crossley,  J.  (Preston)  . 
1324  Sergt.  Crowley,  W.  (Cardiff)  . 

247  Gdsn.  Crumb,  W.  (Aberdare) 

648  Cpl.     Crumb,  J.  T.  (Aberdare) 
2152  Gdsn.  CuUev,  G.  H.  (Cardiff) 

481      „      CuUis,  W.  (Gloucester) 
3738      „      Culshaw,  H.  (Liverpool) 
4186      „      Culver,  W.  G.  (Ramsgate) 
3154      ,,      Cumberledge,  J.  (Stanley) 
1938  Cpl.     Cummings,  J.  H.  (Merthyr) 
3071  Gdsn.  Cunliffe,  A.  (Nelson)   . 

795  „  Curds,  E.  J.  (Swansea) 

Curtis,  F.  (Trealaw) 
Curtis,  F.  H.  (Neath)  . 
Curtis,  R.  W.  (Ruthin) 
Curtis,  F.  (Maidstone) 
Curtis,  T.  (Dursley) 

77  L/Sergt.  Cutler,  F.  J.  (Pontllanlraith) 

3699  Gdsn.  Dadding,  W.  J.  (Stourbridge) 
3628       „      Dale,  F.  W.  (Birmingham)  . 
2926      „      Dalton,  C.  W.  (Cardiff) 
2660      „      Dane,  S.  (Caerphilly)  . 
287  L/Cpl.  Daniel,  A.  R.  (Oystermouth) 
1608  Gdsn.  Daniel,  D.  J.  (LlaneUy) 
1933       „      Daniel,  T.  B.  (Nantgaredig) 
1066      „      Daniels,  J.  (TunstaU)  . 
1573       „      Daniels,  T.  A.  (Cardiff) 
3546      „      Dare,  W.  (Cardiff) 
4811       „      Davage,  G.  (Cross  Keys) 
1057       „      Davenport,  J.  (Thornton)    . 
4855      „      Davey,  W.  E.  (Newport)      . 
2531      „      David,  R.  (Cardiff)      . 


t  D.  of  Wds. 



K.  in  A. 





D.  of  Wds, 



K.  in  A. 


K.  in  A. 


D.of  Wds. 













K.  in  A. 








Regtl.  -. 


No.    •'"•^ 

2645  Gdsn. 

4370   „ 

970   „ 

1957  L/Cpl. 

2358  Gdsn. 

3148   „ 

6721   „ 

22  Sergt. 

37   „ 

64   „ 

106  Gdsn. 

108   „ 

169   „ 

185   „ 

216   „ 

240   „ 

245  L/Cpl. 

258  Gdsn. 

307   „ 

348   „ 

349   „ 

356   „ 

386  L/Cpl. 

394  Gdsn. 

408  Sergt. 

421  Gdsn. 

426  L/Cpl. 

521  Gdsn. 

637   „ 

564   „ 

627  Dmr. 

658  Gdsn. 

759   „ 

760   „ 

779   „ 

784  Sergt. 

811  Gdsn. 

815  L/Serg 

835  Gdsn. 

836  Sergt. 

841  Gdsn. 

843  L/Cpl. 

895  Gdsn. 

904   „ 









David,  C.  M.  (Whitland)  . 
David,  W.  J.  (Cowbridge)  . 
Davidge,  H.  E.  (Blandford) 
Davidson,  J.  W.  (Pembroke) 
Davidson,  J.  H.  (Newbiggin) 
Davidson,  J.  H.  (Blackburn) 
Davidson,  B.  (Colchester) 
Davies,  G.  (Swansea)  . 
Davies,  T.  H.  (Chalford) 
Davies,  I.  (Flint) 
Davies,  R.  (London)  . 
Davies,  I.  (Ammanford) 
Davies,  W.  (Neath)  . 
Davies,  T.  (Llanelly)  . 
Davies,  R.  (Llanelly)  . 
Davies,  C.  (Merthyr)  . 
Davies,  R.  H.  (Caldicott) 
Davies,  S.  (Neath) 
Davies,  A.  A.  (Merthyr) 
Davies,  G.  (London)  . 
Davies,  T.  (Newport)  . 
Davies,  A.  D.  (Haverfordwest) 
Davies,  R.  H.  (Derby) 
Davies,  W.  (Leigh) 
Davies,  S.  E.  (Stockport) 
Davies,  G.  (Hanley)  . 
Davies,  H.  C.  (Llandaff) 
Davies,  F.  (Castleford) 
Davies,  D.  H.  (Porthcawl) 
Davies,  J.  D.  (Pontypridd) 
Davies,  J.  C.  (Landore) 
Davies,  G.  A.  (Llanelly) 
Davies,  J.  (Femdale)  . 
Davies,  H.  (HuU) 
Davies,  J.  E.  (Ammanford) 
Davies,  J.  (Oswestry) 
Davies,  R.  (Anglesey). 
;t.  Davies,  J.  E.  (Gwersyllt) 
Davies,  W.  J.  (Dowlais) 
Davies,  T.  (Blaenrhondda) 
Davies,  J.  (Aberdare) 
Davies,  S.  (Rhondda) 
Davies,  E.  (Pontypridd) 
Davies,  E.  (Gelli) 
Davies,  J.  W.  (Cardiff) 
Davies,  R.  R.  (Llanelly) 
Davies,  W.  J.  (Swansea) 
Davies,  J.  E.  (Aberangell) 
Davies,  T.  J.  (Llanelly) 
Davies,  T.  J.  (Barry)  . 
Davies,  B.  (Merthyr)  . 


D.  of  Wds. 

t  K.  in  A. 




D.  of  Wda. 


D.  of  Wds. 


K.  in  A. 





K.  in  A. 







K.  in  A. 

D.  of  Wds. 








1286  Gdsn. 









1438  L/Cpl. 

1446  Gdsn. 









1628  L/Cpl. 

1645  Gdsn. 





1694  Gdsn. 


1703  L/Cpl. 

1747  L/Cpl. 

1753  Gdsn. 























2073  Gdsn. 



















2489  Gdsn. 

















Davies,  R.  (Aberdare) 
Davies,  T.  (Aberystwyth)     . 
Davies,  A.  (Pontypridd) 
Davies,  E.  (Swansea)  . 
Davies,  D.  W.  (Mountain  Ash) 
Davies,  W.  (Bargoed) 
Davies,  T.  (Llandyssul) 
Davies,  D.  V.  (Cardiff) 
Davies,  D.  0.  (Bettws-y-coed) 
Davies,  D.  T.  (Cwmdu) 
Davies,  T.  (Tenby)      . 
Davies,  J.  (LlandUo)  . 
Davies,  J.  (Ammanford) 
Davies,  B.  (Newport)  . 
Davies,  F.  J.  W.  (Cardiff)    . 
Davies,  W.  N.  (Tonyrefail)  . 
Davies,  J.  (Tonyrefail) 
Davies,  E.  J.  (Aberystwyth) 
Davies,  G.  (Swansea)  . 
Davies,  E.  H.  (Carmarthen) 
Davies,  G.  M.  (Abergavenny) 
Davies,  E.  (Llansamlet) 
Davies,  A.  I?.  (Aberystwyth) 
Davies,  C.  C.  (Shrewsbury) 
Davies,  G.  F.  (Mountain  Ash) 
Davies,  O.  (Carmarthen) 
Davies,  S.  C.  (Llandilo) 
Davies,  E.  W.  (Coedfranc) 
Davies,  A.  (Lydbury  North) 
Davies,  T.  (Pontyberem) 
Davies,  T.  M.  (Lampeter) 
Davies,  E.  D.  (Tredegar) 
Davies,  W.  J.  (Skewen) 
Davies,  R.  W.  (Cwmavon) 
Davies,  D.  C.  (Pentre) 
Davies,  E.  S.  (Denbigh) 
Davies,  H.  F.  (Llan3rmynech) 
Davies,  E.  (Abercam) 
Davies,  W.  T.  (LlangoUen) 
Davies,  H.  (Crickhowell) 
Davies,  H.  G.  (Presteigne) 
,  Davies,  D.  J.  (AbergwUi) 
Davies,  B.  (Morriston) 
Davies,  W.  G.  (HolyweU) 
Davies,  E.  T.  (Bodfari) 
,  Davies,  G.  (Clarbeston) 
Davies,  A.  (Rhyl) 
Davies,  W.  J.  (Morriston) 
Davies,  W.  (Cardiff)    . 
Davies,  J.  (Boneath)  . 
Davies,  S.  F.  (Oswestry) 



D.  of  Wda. 



K.  in  A. 


K.  inA. 

D.  of  Wds. 

D.  of  Wds. 



K.  inA. 
D.  of  Wds. 


t  D.  of  Wds. 







t  K.  in  A. 







Eank.                                     Name. 

Canities.           ?-- 

2657  Gdsn.  Davies,  W.  G.  (BrideU) 



„      Davies,  J.  R.  (Swansea) 

2737  L/Cpl.  Davies,  D.  (Llangunnock)    . 

2813  Gdsn.  Daviea,  F.  J.  (Oswestry)      . 


„      Davies,  T.  (Llanelly)  .          .          .          . 

2866  L/Cpl.  Davies,  A.  (Flint)        .         .         .         . 

2885  Gdsn.  Davies,  C.  (Wrexham) 

t                     M.M. 


„      Davies,  F.  V.  (Shrewsbury) 



„      Davies,  W.  (Begelly)  .          .          .          . 



„      Davies,  D.  (Cardiff)     .          .          .          . 

D.  of  Wds. 


„      Davies,  S.  (Tranmere) 


„      Davies,  D.  H.  (Talyllyn)      . 


„      Davies,  J.  (Wrexham) 



„      Davies,  J.  (Connah's  Quay) 



„      Davies,  D.  J.  (Ferryside)     . 



„      Davies,  D.  J.  (New  Quay)   . 


„      Davies,  L.  (Llangollen) 



„      Davies,  W.  (Bangor)   . 


L/Cpl.  Davies,  W.  (Llanfihangel)    . 

D.  of  Wds. 


Gdsn.  Davies,  B.  G.  (Swansea) 



„      Davies,  R.  F.  (Swansea) 



„      Davies,  J.  C.  (Pontj^ridd)  . 



„      Davies,  C.  W.  (Wrexham)    . 



„      Davies,  E.  (Rhyl) 



„      Davies,  A.  (Cardiff)     . 

t  D.  of  Wds. 


„      Davies,  T.  J,  H.  (Carmarthen) 


„      Davies,  J.  0.  (New  Quay)   . 


„      Davies,  E.  T.  (Lampeter)     . 



L/Cpl.  Davies,  T.  (Oswestry) 

3708  Gdsn.  Davies,  J.  H.  (Llandilo) 


„      Davies,  H.  (Ludlow)    . 


„      Davies,  L.  C.  (London,  N.)  . 


„      Davies,  A.  G.  (Usk)     . 


„      Davies,  J.  T.  (Llanwrda) 

'.     tl>.  ofWds.    M.M. 


„      Davies,  H.  W.  (Mold) 


„      Davies,  D.  T.  (Ynysbwl)      . 

'.     t 


L/Cpl.  Davies,  S.  (Cardiff)      . 

4095  Gdsn.  Davies,  T.  (Llanidloes) 

"     t 


„      Davies,  D.  W.  (Talsam) 

•     t 


„      Davies,  R.  J.  (Llangefni)      . 

.     t 


„      Davies,  J.  (Gwnnws)  . 

.     K.  in  A. 


„      Davies,  F.  (Ellesmere) 

.     K.  in  A, 


„      Davies,  T.  A.  (Liverpool)     . 

.     t 


„      Davies,  W.  A.  (Cardiff) 


„      Davies,  F.  S.  (Windsor) 

•     t 


„      Davies,  J.  J.  (Bognor) 


„      Davies,  E.  (Newport) 


„      Davies,  D.  R.  (Cwmparc)     . 


„      Davies,  W.  (Merthyr) 


„      Davies,  E.  (Neath)      . 


„      Davies,  J.  L.  (Cymmer) 








4637  Gdsn.  Davies,  W.  (Cardiff)    . 
4650      „      Davies,  J.  (Carmarthen) 
4662       „      Davies,  H.  (Carmarthen) 
4664      „      Davies,  W.  O.  (Bridgend) 
4748       „      Davies,  C.  (Swansea)  . 
4769      „      Davies,  T.  M.  (Fochriw) 
4772      „      Davies,  W.  R.  (Aberdare) 
4810      „      Davies,  T.  H.  (Merthyr) 
4814       „      Davies,  R.  (Aberaman) 
4856      „      Davies,  W.  D.  (Neath) 
4884      „      Davies,  H.  G.  (Newport) 
5190      „      Davies